What Is The Necklace Symbolism?

Updated 30 September, 2023
In “The Necklace”, Maupassant uses symbolism to explain the differences between appearances and reality. The main symbol in the story, the necklace itself, represents the power of perception and the split between appearances and reality, as it is beautiful but worthless.
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Symbolism is widely used in The Necklace with its main and most important symbol being the necklace which Mathilde Loisel acquires from her dear friend Madame Forestier. The diamond necklace represents luxury, grace and essentially everything that Mathilde wants but does not have being all the material possessions of her finer life. Maupassant says “Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace, and her heart began to beat with uncontrolled desire.” which represents a strong connection between the necklace and the character’s happiness. She feels that wearing the jewellery will give her the aura of wealth she has always wanted and therefore fulfils her inner desires. After the possession to “her key to happiness”, Mathilde feels “prettier than them all, elegant, gracious, crazy with joy”. The powerful adjectives used to describe her feeling of radiance convey a sense of true happiness that has rose upon the character. Possessions have the power to impress but not in the long term. Later in the story, the necklace is still a symbol of wealth but is expressed in a different - it is the luxury she can never hope to have as her and her husband are in depths and poverty. This shows how something and simple as a necklace can change a person’s future but most importantly change their identity.
The necklace itself can be portrayed as a symbol of deception. To clarify, Matilda knows Madame Forester is rich and believes all Madame Forester stuff will be expensive and expensive. However, it is not until the end of the story that Matilda learns that the necklace was a fake and that she spent ten precious years of her youth working to pay off the debt she incurred after losing the necklace. For example, in the story of a meeting of two women “But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred Francs!” this means that Matilda was blinded by her greed and deceived by a fake necklace. Her deceitful and pretentious nature left its mark on her life as they wasted ten years of her youthful life.

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