Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 364

Eugénie Grandet was a novel written in 1833 by French author Honoré de Balzac. It is set in Saumur, a prosperous town on the Loire in western France, known for its dramatic architecture, historic castle, and wine production. The main characters of the novel are:

Eugénie Grandet: The eponymous heroine...

(The entire section contains 1005 words.)

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Eugénie Grandet was a novel written in 1833 by French author Honoré de Balzac. It is set in Saumur, a prosperous town on the Loire in western France, known for its dramatic architecture, historic castle, and wine production. The main characters of the novel are:

Eugénie Grandet: The eponymous heroine of the novel is a morally good young woman raised by a wealthy miser. Her father is concerned with her marrying the wealthiest possible young man, but she falls in love with her poor cousin Charles. After being jilted by Charles, she marries Cruchot, who dies young, leaving her a fabulously wealthy and contented young widow.

Felix Grandet: Grandet is father to Eugénie and a wealthy miser who has become rich through inheritance and a business making casks for the wine industry. He is obsessed with both saving and obtaining money and has few scruples in doing so. He is also a domestic tyrant towards his wife and daughter.

Madame Grandet: The mother of Eugénie and wife of Felix is deeply religious and very much subordinated to her husband.

Nanon: A notably ugly woman, Nanon is a servant to the Grandet family.

Monsieur des Grassins: A banker whose services are used by Grandet in winding up his brother's affairs, Grassins is part of Grandet's social circle and hopes to have his son Adolphe marry Eugénie.

Adolphe des Grassins: The son of banker Monsieur des Grassins is an unsuccessful suitor for the hand of Eugénie.

Monsieur Cruchot: A wealthy lawyer, Monsieur Cruchot is also a member of Grandet's social circle, and is distinctly uncouth and poorly dressed despite his wealth.

President Cruchot des Bonfons: The unattractive son of Monsieur Cruchot, a minor provincial official, eventually succeeds in winning the hand in marriage of Eugénie, though very much on her terms. He dies young, leaving her a wealthy widow.

Charles Grandet: Charles is nephew to Felix. He is handsome and dissolute, extremely concerned with his appearance and marrying a wealthy woman. He takes money from Eugénie but eventually jilts her. He is morally corrupt.

Guillaume Grandet: The brother of Felix and father of Charles commits suicide after going bankrupt.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 641

Eugénie Grandet

Eugénie Grandet (ew-zhay-NEE grahn-DAY), the young heiress to a fortune, who lives in the world but is not of it. Reared without a childhood in the penurious surroundings of Saumur, a provincial French town, Eugénie for a brief period lives in the love of her cousin, newly orphaned and a guest in the Grandet home. Strong of character and handsome in appearance, she pledges herself to young Charles Grandet and remains true to him throughout her life. As an obedient daughter of parents and Church, she tries to live righteously but defies her father in the matter of love. Her kind ministrations to both her dying parents, her lifelong devotion to her one loyal friend, and her constancy of memory make her one of the most steadfast and pitiable of heroines. Her good deeds and her loving devotion to the poor whom she serves give her life tragic beauty.

Monsieur Grandet

Monsieur Grandet, her father, one of the most miserly figures in all literature. The author of the family tragedy, Goodman Grandet, as Balzac satirically calls him, is unyielding in his niggardliness without seeming to realize his great fault. He appears to be trying to clear his brother’s good name by not allowing him to fall into bankruptcy, but in reality he profits from the delaying action. His towering angers at the least “extravagance” finally put his devoted wife on her deathbed, and his unrelenting love of gold destroys the loving confidence of his daughter. Shrewd and grasping in his business deals, he has no redeeming features. Ironically enough, his fortune is finally put to good purposes through his daughter, who makes restitution for his wrongs.

Madame Grandet

Madame Grandet, his long-suffering wife, whose piety is taxed by the burden of her husband’s stinginess. Accustomed to her hard lot and strengthened by her religion, Madame Grandet bows under her heavy yoke of work and harsh treatment until she takes up the cause of her daughter’s right to love and devotes herself to the memory of that love. Still she prays for reconciliation, and when it comes she dies happy, without knowing her dowry is the reason for the deathbed forgiveness.

Charles Grandet

Charles Grandet (shahrl), the dandified cousin of the heroine, who loses his fortune through his father’s suicide but who regains a fortune through unscrupulous dealings financed, ironically, by Eugénie’s gift of money to him. Heroic only in his unselfish grief for his father and generous only once in bestowing his love, Charles reveals a twisted mind tutored by a corrupt society. Outwardly prepossessing, inwardly vacillating, he chooses to disregard the one fine thing that was given him, a dowry of unselfish love, and bases his life on treachery, lechery, and adultery.

Nanon

Nanon (nah-NOHN), the faithful servant who loyally defends the indefensible in her master because it was he who raised her a full step in the social order. Large and mannish, Nanon manages the entire Grandet household with such efficiency as to cause admiration from the master, himself efficient and desperately saving. Her devotion to him, however, does not preclude rushing to the defense of his wife and daughter, the victims of his spite. Finally she marries the gamekeeper, and together they rule the Grandet holdings for their mistress Eugénie.

Monsieur Cruchot

Monsieur Cruchot (krew-SHOH-), a notary and petty government official who becomes husband in name only to Eugénie. He feels that by marrying the name and inheriting the fortune his own name will become illustrious. His untimely death ends the reign of self-seeking misers.

Monsieur de Grassins

Monsieur de Grassins (grah-SAHN), the provincial banker sent to Paris to act for M. Grandet at the time of his brother’s bankruptcy. Attracted to the gay life in the capital, he fails to return to Saumur.

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