Gobsek miser or philosopher (essay miniature based on the story of H. de Balzac “Gobsek”)
Honore de Balzac
... Not a single human soul has received such a cruel hardening in trials as he did.
H. de Balzac. Gobsek
I don't know how one can judge or evaluate a person who lives in another time, in another society, according to other laws. But if such a question arose, then I prefer to look not only at the results of human life, but also at the motives of the actions that moved this person.
It seems to me that this text is intended only for private use - in Gobseck's assessment, Derville was the most right, who managed to get to know him better than anyone else, and decided that in this man coexist "miser and philosopher, vile creature and sublime". Yes, in everything that concerned money, Gobsek was repulsively unpleasant: greedy, cruel to debtors, uncompromising, greedy. Huge stocks of rotting products, fabrics and other things, unused, spoiling due to the stinginess and intractability of the usurer, evoke in the memory the image of Gogol's Plyushkin, and at the same time a feeling of disgust, disgust.
But at the same time, we know that in everything that did not concern money matters, Gobsek was a man of "the most scrupulous honesty in all of Paris." Having experienced many hardships in childhood and youth, having learned overwork, having felt the injustice of a society where, indeed, "... it is better to press yourself, than to allow others to press you", Gobsek managed to raise the necessary capital to live like this, as he saw fit, as "! he wanted, but at the same time he did not lose true humanity, those moral principles that guide even the best representatives of mankind. Simply, knowing people well, Gobsek remarkably understood the depravity and injustice of the world in which he lives: " gold is the spiritual essence of the whole of today's society". Gobsek learned to read in the hearts of people, so it was impossible to deceive him. His ruthless attitude towards creditors was fully justified by the fact that these people constantly tried to play "comedies" and "tragedies" in front of him, they were unaware of honesty, sincerity, frankness, forced out of their lives by habitual cunning and deceit.
Gobsek has a completely different attitude towards people in whom he sees the desire to earn money by his work, decent and honest, first of all, in front of himself. With a feeling of compassion and warmth, he talks about Fanny Malvo, helps Derville with money, however, at high interest. However, when Derville then asked Gobsek why he did not want to help disinterestedly, the usurer gave an answer worthy of an extremely noble person: "I saved you from gratitude, I gave you the right to think that you do not owe me anything. And therefore we are the best
friends in the world."
Such is Gobsek: a miser and a philosopher, merciful and ruthless, impassive and able to rejoice like a child (though only with money), infinitely economical and inexpressibly rich. A man of his time, living according to the laws of a society based on social inequality and the power of money.