What are some character traits of Monsieur Loisel in "The Necklace"?

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Character traits of Monsieur Loisel include a conciliatory nature, innovativeness, and loyalty. He shows his conciliatory nature when his wife complains that she has nothing suitable to wear. He shows his innovativeness in his ideas for overcoming her lack of jewelry. Lastly, he shows his loyalty in devoting his life to the repayment of the debt for the lost necklace.

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In "The Necklace," Monsieur Loisel is portrayed as a selfless, humble man, who is willing to make sacrifices to please his entitled wife and protect his reputation. Unlike his materialistic, self-centered wife, Mathilde, Monsieur Loisel is content with his modest life and naively believes she will be excited about receiving an invitation to the Ministry's private ball. When Monsieur Loisel initially tells his wife about the invitation, he describes it as a "fine opportunity" to socialize with important people and possibly make some connections. This comment depicts Monsieur Loisel as a rather ambitious, driven clerk with hopes of receiving a promotion.

His willingness to sacrifice four hundred francs to appease his wife also demonstrates his benevolent, submissive nature. Once Mathilde loses the diamond necklace, Monsieur Loisel goes to great lengths to discover and replace it. Monsieur Loisel retraces their route, visits the police headquarters, and offers a reward at the newspaper offices to recover the necklace. His desperate efforts suggest that he is a dutiful, responsible husband.

It is also important to note that Monsieur Loisel instructs his wife to lie to Madame Forestier about the missing necklace and does not recognize something is amiss when the jeweler explains that he only furnished the case. By instructing Mathilde to lie and neglecting to question the necklace's authenticity before exhausting all of his resources, Monsieur Loisel is depicted as narrow-minded and self-conscious. His main concern is preserving his reputation, which explains why he sacrifices his life savings to replace the necklace. He does not want to be viewed as a thief or irresponsible husband. Tragically, Monsieur Loisel is not intuitive enough to recognize something is odd when the opportunity presents itself, and he wastes his life savings on an authentic lookalike.

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Guy de Maupassant does not tell us nearly as much about Monsieur Loisel as he tells us about his wife’s character. However, I would argue that Monsieur Loisel can be described as conciliatory and as a peacemaker. He is also innovative and loyal.

When he excitedly tells his wife about the invitation that they have received, she responds derisively, explaining that with nothing suitable to wear, she cannot possibly go. He attempts to make her feel better by telling her that, in his view, the dress she wears to the theater will be perfect. Upon learning that he is wrong about this dress, his conciliatory nature is shown when he announces that he will give her four hundred francs with which to buy “a pretty dress.”

I would also argue that Monsieur Loisel is also an innovative man, or a man with creative ideas. When his wife bemoans her lack of jewelry, he suggests that she use fresh flowers to adorn herself. When this idea is eschewed, it is Monsieur Loisel who comes up with the idea that will, in the long term, cause the couple so much trouble: she could borrow some jewelry from Madame Forestier. Another great idea of Monsieur Loisel’s is to buy time in the aftermath of the loss by having his wife write to Madame Forestier and tell her that they are having the necklace’s clasp mended.

Monsieur Loisel showcases his loyalty in the aftermath of the necklace’s disappearance. He sinks his entire inheritance into replacing the necklace on behalf of his wife and also takes on jaw-dropping debt, “[compromising] all the rest of his life,” without ever uttering a word of complaint.

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Monsieur Loisel is not described as vividly as his wife Mathilde.  In fact, he is not even given a name!  Most of the characterization of him is indirect.  You can describe him as loving, frustrated, satisfied, clueless, and honest.

Monsieur Loisel is a loving, if not subservient, husband.  He wants to do what his wife wants, or anything to make her happy.  He sacrifices his comfort for hers.

He grew a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre…. (p. 3)

When she asks for money for a dress to go to the ball, he acquiesces and gives her the money he has set aside for himself.

Mathilde’s husband is also frustrated though.  He knows he cannot give her everything she wants.  This bothers him.  Yet he also gets irritated when she is constantly asking for more.

"How stupid you are!" her husband cried. "Go look up your friend, Madame Forestier, and ask her to lend you some jewels. You're intimate enough with her to do that." (p. 3)

Although this seems mean, it must not have been mean in the way he said it.  She does not get upset.  Instead, she is thrilled.  She “uttered a cry of joy” and took the suggestion.

Monsieur  Loisel is satisfied.  Although he is only a clerk, he does not seem to mind his life.  He suggests that Mathilde put flowers in her hair instead of wearing jewels, because it is fashionable.  He does not understand why she does not want to go to the ball. He is satisfied with his life, and is not sure why she is not.

Mathilde’s husband does not seem to understand how unhappy she is.  He is fine with his life.

"Why, my dear, I thought you would be glad. You never go out, and this is such a fine opportunity. I had great trouble to get it….” (p. 2)

He did not understand that she would be upset when he got her the invitation because she did not have the right clothes.  He is clueless, and could have avoided a lot of trouble by not opening that can of worms.

Finally, Loisel is relatively honest.  When the jewel goes missing, he has it replaced.  He does lie at first. 

"You must write to your friend," said he, "that you have broken the clasp of her necklace and that you are having it mended. That will give us time to turn round." (p. 5)

However, he is just biding his time.  He does work very hard to replace the jewel.

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Describe Madame Loisels's character in "The Necklace."

The character of Madame Loisel is that of a young woman of lesser social status, who comes from a similarly simple family. As a result, she is rendered unable to marry "beyond her station" and find a husband worthy of a large dowry. Therefore, she marries a man of her same status; a clerk who, despite of not having much, is quite content with his life.  

The fatal flaw of Madame Loisel is her excessive sense of entitlement. One thing is to want good things for ourselves, and to wish for a better life. Another thing is to hope for the best. However, to detest your life and wish to have another touches on ungratefulness. Madame wanted so much for herself that she despised the little that kept her at least at minimal comfort. 

When she has the chance to attend a ball, she begrudges her lack of luxurious clothes and jewels, and her husband proposes that she goes to a rich friend to borrow her jewels. Madame Loisel obviously chooses the most extravagant looking necklace, which shows her state of mind: She wants to dazzle, be showy, extravagant, and call the attention of others.

Sadly, Madame loses the necklace and her pride is so big that she refuses to admit it to her friend. Instead, she and her husband work hard to replace the piece, losing everything they had. When she comes to find out that the necklace was fake, and that she essentially wasted her life over nothing goes to show the irony of her own life. She whined and complained over nothing. She wanted things for her that would have been tantamount to nothing but flash and looks. All of this basically shows that this woman was empty, shallow, and too egotistical for her own good. 

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How is Monsieur Loisel characterized in "The Necklace"?

Although the character of Monsieur Loisel is not as developed as his wife, we actually do learn quite a bit about him through indirect characterization.  He is basically under his wife’s thumb, but he is resourceful.  He responds to her every whim, regardless of what he wants.  He pays the price for her vanity, but he gets things done.

Monsieur Loisel does seem to be a loving husband.  He procures a ticked for a fancy ball for his wife because he thinks she would want to go.  He does seem genuinely surprised by his wife’s reaction.

"Why, my dear, I thought you would be glad. You never go out, and this is such a fine opportunity. I had great trouble to get it. Every one wants to go; it is very select …” (p. 2)

When his wife cries because she does not have enough money to buy a dress, he gives in.  He gives her the money he had saved for his gun.

He grew a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre … (p. 3)

Yet he gives her the money.  When she complains further that she has no jewels, he gets frustrated, but he has a suggestion for that too.

"Go look up your friend, Madame Forestier, and ask her to lend you some jewels. You're intimate enough with her to do that." (p. 3)

When they go to the ball, it is even clearer that he went for her.  He falls asleep while she is still dancing (he is clearly not the jealous type).  He swoops in again to save the day when the jewel is lost.  He gives her an excuse to write the friend to bide them time, and then borrows the money.

That dreadful debt must be paid. She would pay it. They dismissed their servant; they changed their lodgings; they rented a garret under the roof.  (p. 6)

Although she only sees her own suffering, he suffers right there with her.  Everything she gives up, he gives up too.  He moves when she moves.  He takes on extra work.  For ten years he labors with her until the debt is paid.

Although the story does seem to focus more on Mathilde, we do learn quite a lot about her husband.  He is intelligent, humble, and hard-working.  He puts up with quite a lot from his vain wife, and he sticks by her.  He will do whatever she wants.

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What is the characterization of Monsieur Loisel in "The Necklace"?

"The Necklace" is not Monsieur Loisel's story, so most of what we know about him is conveyed through his connection to his wife Mathilde.  

M. Loisel is a man who is content with what he has and appreciates the simple things in life.  In contrast to his wife who is literally never content (until the end), Loisel is happy with their simple meals.  The first time we meet him, he

uncovered the soup tureen and declared with a delighted air, "Ah, the good soup! I don't know anything better than that."

He loves the idea of his wife adorning herself with simple flowers because she is already beautiful, and we know whatever she is or does is fine with him.

We also know that M. Loisel wants to please his wife.  Knowing her desire to be part of the social whirlwind of society, he manages to obtain an invitation to a formal ball--something that doesnot interest him in the least.  He foregoes his own desire and savings for a rifle and gives Mathilde the money instead, so she can buy a dress for the ball.  When she is still discontent, he suggests she borrow some jewelry from a friend, which of course she does.  At the party, he'd much rather go home early; instead, he manages to stay awake after allowing her to be as frivolous and flirtatious as she wishes.  Once the necklace has been lost, there are no complaints or recriminations from him; he simply does what he has to (with whatever unsavory characters he has to deal with) in order to recover from the loss.

Finally, it's clear that Monsieur Loisel is willing to sacrifice for someone he loves.  The money he had saved for the gun, as mentioned before, is one example; however, what he does to pay back the money for the necklace is the definition of "labor of love."

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