Essays on literary works - 2023
Is Gobsek satisfied with his life
Honore de Balzac
The story "Gobsek" (1830-1833) is a very capacious work. The writer reworked it many times, it was printed in three versions and even under different titles: "Pawnbroker", "Papa Gobsek" and simply "Gobsek". In world literature, the image of a miser has repeatedly arisen. These are Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Harpagon in Moliere's comedy The Miser, The Miserly Knight in Pushkin's little tragedy of the same name, Plyushkin in Gogol's Dead Souls. In Gobseck, the reader is confronted with a large-scale image of the money-grubber of the bourgeois era, generated by the entire socio-economic system of this society, the priest of gold, the money-grubbing philosopher, the cynic money-grubbing, who knows life, people and the laws of his time and does dark deeds not bypassing the existing legality, but thanks to knowing it.
The stranglehold of predators like Gobsek, Balzac knew from personal experience: he was perfectly familiar with explanations with creditors, pawning bills, debtor's prison. Balzac sought "to make the image of the usurer as truthful as possible. And although the writer felt a natural disgust for him, he managed to get used to the nature of a predator, and then, as usual, reveal it from the inside. There are three narrators in the story: Balzac, Derville, and in some cases Gobsek himself. Derville, whose name is found on many pages of The Human Comedy, is an honest minister of justice, who was once not only a modest neighbor of Gobseck and, by the will of fate, was awarded frank conversations with an old man who valued his mind and knowledge and used them, but he himself turned out to be a debtor usurer and a witness to the death of the family of the Count de Restaud, whose evil fate was Gobsek. In this way,
* “I don’t know,” began Derville, “can you imagine from my words this face of a man, which I ... gote to call the lunar face, because its yellowish pallor reminded me of the color of silver, from which the gilding has peeled off. My pawnbroker's hair was perfectly straight, always neatly combed, with a lot of graying - ash gray. The features of the face, motionless, impassive, like those of Talleyrand, seemed to be cast in bronze. His eyes were small and yellow, like those of a ferret, and could hardly stand bright light, so he protected them with a large visor of a shabby cap.
Gobsek prided himself on his implacability: “I have eyes like God's; I read in the hearts. He does not sympathize with any of the people, he does not try to save anyone either from the scaffold, or from the noose, or from the Seine. Judging by his actions, there were no human feelings left in him. The golden microbe had eaten away even kindred attachments in his soul. The death of the Beautiful Dutchwoman, his great-niece, did not evoke any echo in him; in unbearable need and disgrace, the daughter of this woman, nicknamed Fire, "pretty, like a cupid," also perishes. But Gobsek did not lift a finger to help them. "He hated more than anything his heirs, living and dead." And even to people who sincerely trusted him, he is not more condescending than to others (to Derville, Comte de Resto). He has a rule that is alien to human society - do not feel sorry for anyone, do not help anyone, but use everything that you can take for free. He takes huge interest from Derville so that he does not feel blessed, and leaves the Comte de Resto family without funds, having no right to do so and taking advantage of the count's fictitious will and the countess's mistake. Students have a question why Derville calls Gobsek a man of "the most scrupulous honesty." It must be explained that this is not about moral principles, but about Gobseck's impeccable scrupulousness in following the monetary document, which is so highly valued in the commercial world. having no right to do so and taking advantage of the fictitious will of the count and the mistake of the countess. Students have a question why Derville calls Gobsek a man of "the most scrupulous honesty." It must be explained that this is not about moral principles, but about Gobseck's impeccable scrupulousness in following the monetary document, which is so highly valued in the commercial world. having no right to do so and taking advantage of the fictitious will of the count and the mistake of the countess. Students have a question why Derville calls Gobsek a man of "the most scrupulous honesty." It must be explained that this is not about moral principles, but about Gobseck's impeccable scrupulousness in following the monetary document, which is so highly valued in the commercial world.
Gobsek is primarily a businessman who believed that "money is a commodity that can be sold with a clear conscience." For him there is a deal, a benefit, but not a person. The "miser-philosopher" comprehended the basis on which prosperity is based in the bourgeois world - this is the power of money. “All human forces are concentrated in gold, and as far as morals are concerned, man is the same everywhere: everywhere there is a struggle between the poor and the rich. And it is inevitable. So it’s better to put pressure on yourself than to allow others to push you ... ”- such is the life credo of the usurer. Politics, science, art in the understanding of Gobsek are such peers of human activity in which he is always defeated. The only thing that gives a person strength and power, satisfies his ambition, is gold.
Thus, everything that the theorists of the bourgeois world cover up with beautiful phrases, in Gobseck's reasoning, appears naked and cynical: “I am rich enough to buy a human conscience, to rule all-powerful ministers through their favorites, starting with clerical servants and ending with mistresses. Is this not power? No. A chimera with a lion's mouth "he turns out to be for the poor. And if Fanny Malvo, who touched Gobsek with her purity and diligence, had not paid on time, she would have become his victim. Gobsek takes revenge on his clients for their extravagance, conceited desire to shine, envy of their luxury, and inability to use treasures. Acquisitiveness was the main business of Gobsek, to whom a sharp mind, phenomenal memory, insight, knowledge of human psychology, vast commercial experience,