What is the climax of "The Necklace?"
In my opinion, the climax of this story is the point at which Madame Loisel realizes that the necklace that she has borrowed is gone.
I think this is the climax because I think the rising action is the conflict within herself that arises because of her desire to be more high class than she is. That conflict ends up with her borrowing the necklace to pretend she is something she is not. Then she loses it and the falling action is where we find out how that will affect her life.
I agree with the previous editor, pohnpei, that the climax to the Guy de Maupassant short story, "The Necklace," comes when Madame Loisel discovers that the necklace is lost. As far as climaxes go, this one comes fairly early in the story. The other possibility would be when Madame Loisel discovers the truth about the necklace that she has lost: that it is only paste and that she has wasted a decade of her life. However, this is more closely identified as an unexpected surprise ending (a de Maupassant trademark) rather than the true climax.
Introduced in the beginning of "The Necklace" as a woman who feels that she has been cheated by fate, Madame Loisel is described as
...one of those pretty and charming girls, born, as if by an accident of fate, into a family of clerks. With no dowry, no prospects....
She grieved incessantly, feeling that she had been born for all the little niceties and luxuries of living.
When Matilde Loisel is able to participate in one of the "luxuries of living" as her husband has received an invitation to a reception at the Ministerial Mansion, she is provided a new dress by her husband's sacrifice of his money saved for a new rifle. But, she feels she must have a necklace for this dress; so her husband suggests that she ask her old school friend if she may borrow one. Graciously, Madame Forestier allows Matilde to select "a superb diamond necklace" from a black satin box.
At the ball, Mme. Loisel receives the attention of many men, to her delight. She dances late into the night. When she and her fatigued husband finally arrive home and "climb wearily" to their apartment, she lets her wrap fall before the mirror only to realize "the necklace was gone." This discovery is the climax of the narrative as it is the point of highest emotional intensity.
Her husband and Mathilde search and search, but they are unable to find it.
She remained in her evening clothes, without the strength to go to bed, slumped in a chair in the unheated room, her mind a blank.
After this loss, the lives of the Loisels takes a turn for the worse as they work and sacrifice to pay for the replacement of the necklace.