What did Gobsek lose and what did he find (based on the novel by O. Balzac “Gobsek”) - Honore de Balzac

Essays on literary works - 2023

What did Gobsek lose and what did he find (based on the novel by O. Balzac “Gobsek”)
Honore de Balzac

Gobsek is a negative personality, apparently. Moneylender, former corsair. A man with a heart of stone, playing with the fate of people. They are not born that way, they are made that way. A person is born with all human virtues and shortcomings, and loses many of them in his life. Depending on society, parents, time. When he is young, the environment that sets a bad example is largely to blame for his shortcomings. When he is mature or old, he himself is to blame. Is Gobsek guilty? At the age of ten, when the soul was still very receptive, he found himself in the company of sailors. Then the West Indies - mines, gold, inhuman labor, greed, turning into greed, distrust of people, suspicion.

In the end - the path to the corsairs. The final stage is usury. Zhivoglot. Terrible personality, terrible character. This is how Balzac shows us.

And I don't think of him as such. A person who has not had a childhood finds himself in a terrible world - a world where instead of affection and attention - rudeness and cruelty. A world where instead of fairy tales there are stories about death. For twenty years he saw only gold and blood. For twenty years he worked in the mines or fought the Spaniards in powder smoke. He becomes rich, insanely rich. But he deserved it with his work, by pulling sails in a storm and breathing salt, tearing his muscles and swallowing dust: he could be killed every minute. Nothing was given to him for free.

Despite the fact that he lived in an environment of cruelty and walked the earth soaked in blood, he remained honest in his deeds and a child in his soul. He found peace. He got the right to live the way he wanted. He found his goal - gold, the only opportunity for himself to rise above people, to keep them in obedience. In this he found himself.

And what did he lose, irretrievably lost on the long journey of life? He lost his humanity and much more, but he lost not at the finish line, but at the start, at the age of ten, and against his will, which is why he did not regret the loss. He was completely satisfied with his own life. He took place as a person, but did not take place as a person (in the sense of humanity).

I believe that Balzac's negative attitude towards Gobsek is connected with the author's personal attitude towards usurers, since he himself paid them interest for half his life. Yes, and the usurer is a profession, though ungrateful, but necessary. Find at least one bank that is ready to give you even an insignificant amount without interest.

Gobsek is an extremely complex and confusing personality. It is definitely impossible to judge him. But, despite all the shortcomings of his personality and character, I consider him a man of strong spirit and decent within the framework of his profession. As for the rest... There are no ideal people.