Forced Martyrdom

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"It took them to their door, on the Street of Martyrs, and they sadly climbed the stairs to their flat. For her, it was finished (pg. 9)."

            In Biblical times, Martyrs were people who were willing to die for their Christian faith. Everyday martyrs can exist, however, because of the sacrifices they are forced to undergo or willingly make.  Loisel and Mathilde from The Necklace are both Martyrs in their own ways, and it can be speculated that the author purposefully places their home on the Street of Martyrs to indicate a difference between a martyr of destiny and a martyr of choice.
            Mathilde is a martyr of destiny, or a forced martyr. It could be said that Mathilde is not a true martyr at all, but one whose martyrdom is forced upon her. She feels that she was destined for noble, privileged birth: "She was one of those pretty and charming women, born, as if by error of destiny, into a family of clerks and copyists (pg. 5)." Nonetheless, it can be inferred that Mathilde has had to sacrifice much by simply being married to her unwealthy husband, something she did not choose out of love and dedication, but simply because "she finally settled for a marriage with a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education (pg. 5)."
            Loisel, however, is a martyr of choice. Time and time again, he proves himself to be a true martyr- one whose martyrdom is offered willingly and without complaint. First, Loisel brings Mathilde an invitation for one of the fanciest parties of the year, and because he "came home glowing (pg. 6)," one may infer that Loisel cares more about Mathilde's happiness than most things in his life. Additionally, we continue to see the persistent sacrificial qualities of martyrdom in Loisel as he sacrifices money to buy Mathilde a fancy dress to the party. Even when Mathilde happens to lose Mrs. Forrestier's necklace, Loisel goes out and searches for it despite the fact that he has to be at the Ministry of Education at ten o'clock the next morning. Each of Loisel's acts are committed out of pure dedication and sacrifice, proving Loisel to be a true martyr of choice.
             True martyrdom springs from the deepest love, dedication and sacrifice that a person can offer to another. Consistently throughout The Necklace, we see a sharp contrast between Mathilde, a woman who loved nothing but jewels and the fineries of life, and Loisel, a man who shows his love through the sacrifices he makes every day. Coincidentally, after Mathilde loses the necklace and vows to repay the debt, she progresses toward being a Martyr of choice because she opts to live without the little nonessentials that they'd previously had. All in all, though, it is plain to see that the Loisels, who live on The Street of Martyrs, are very different in their martyrdom.

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