The downfall of Loisel’s fortune in “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

Madame Loisel is an interesting character who believes that she was born into a family of clerks by mistake. She is very materialistic and her fondness of living a luxurious life leads to her going through a major change in her life. Her whole life changes drastically, forcing Loisel to work, change her whole mindset, and change her whole character completely. Loisel started off as a “pretty and charming”(1) wife of a clerk who did not have to work to appear as an aged woman, who has to do work as a housemaid. Madame Loisel’s character of wanting to live a luxurious, materialistic lifestyle leads to her borrowing an object that is more than what she could afford, engraved with debt, and her appearance to have withered down. Losiel goes through many hardships because of her love of materialistic things which ultimately led to her downfall.

Firstly, Loisel’s needy character led her to borrowing a necklace that was more than what she could afford for a party. She felt that it was humiliating to have no jewel on her because it would make her look “poor among other women who are rich”(5).  She wanted to fit in with the other women at the party, so she borrowed a necklace from her friend.  Loisel’s needy character brought her to the decision to borrow jewelry that she could not afford to pay back.  She partied with the necklace on and on her way home she noticed she lost the necklace missing.  In a dire need to give back the necklace she borrowed, Loisel decided to replace the accessory. This was the beginning to her downfall because it led to her becoming in debt. Being too needy and demanding brought her to borrow the necklace, thus, putting the responsibility to keep the jewellery safe. Loisel failed to do this, despite her high standards that she upholds for herself. She lacked the responsibility and care that came with the ownership of the necklace and had to pay a large amount for it.

Secondly, Loisel and her husband were put into debt after borrowing thousands of francs from numerous people. Madame Loisel became indebted with approximately 18 thousand francs.  Due to this she and her husband had to do many things in order to pay for the debt, such as doing maidwork, both of them working late evenings, her husband “gave notes, took up ruinous obligations, dealt

with usurers, and all the race of lenders”(11). This led to her downfall because Loisel believed she was born into the wrong social rank. She believed she was supposed to be richer than she was, thus, meant she was not equipped to work in order to acquire money. This made her question her morals to not work and make money. Having to pay the debt, forced her to change her mindset of working.  Loisel had to work a housemaid’s work which impacted her whole life heavily, causing her to do stuff she had never done before and her appearance to change significantly.

Finally, Madame Loisel’s appearance was impacted heavily because of her character of wanting more than what she could have. She was young and beautiful, but because of her choice of trying to look like the other “rich women” at the party, her looks changed. Loisel had made a complete transition from pretty to appear as old, rough, strong, and as a woman of an “impoverished household”(12). Loisel aged a lot and had the appearance of a house made. Her character of wanting to fit in and look rich caused her to do many jobs to repay the people she had originally borrowed money from. Her looks suffered a lot from the stress of working to repay her debts, her hair turned frowsy, and her hands turned red from the constant housework.

In conclusion, Madame Loisel’s character of being needy and very materialist led to her downfall.  Loisel’s whole character changed because of what she had experienced due to the consequences of her needy personality. Her materialistic and luxurious character made her borrow more than what she could afford, get into debt, and her whole appearance to change as a whole.