What is the main conflict of "The Necklace"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Madame Loisel discovers that she has lost the diamond necklace that she has borrowed, she is faced with a decision: Does she tell her wealthy friend, Madame Forestier, that she has lost the necklace and risk humiliation and the loss of the woman's friendship? Or does she try to replace it on her own and keep the loss of the original necklace a secret from her friend? The Loisels decide on the latter choice. They borrow money in any way they can, in many cases with large interest rates, and buy what appears to be an identical diamond necklace. When Madame Loisel returns it to Madame Forestier, the owner does not recognize the difference. Madame Loisel's secret is safe, but she and her husband have to scrimp and save for years in order to pay off the debt. She will come to regret making this decision at the end of the story when she discovers that the original necklace did not contain real diamonds, but only paste.