And robfans just denounce him as being an awful person who takes advantage of women. Really? Like these women are not complicit? That they are not seducing him back? Like they are victims of this rake? Is not he as much seduced as they? To regard his women as helpless victims is to hold them in contempt; to think like this is to hold women in contempt.
What was he supposed to do instead in order to be a good person?
What he had was a particular kind of perceptual intelligence. Not the kind that is part of normality, part of educational advancement. He felt what people were feeling and thinking. He was aware that this "friend" Forestier was not a friend, just a simple acquaintance who decided to help him on a whim, thinking Duroy might be of use to him. Duroy felt the affront but did not expect him to be any different from what he was. Duroy constantly is perceiving his environment and trying to be what is expected of him. He is the son of peasants and has no social graces except what he copies. He was entranced by Madame Forestier, seduced by her. Seduction does not necessarily imply sex. And his manner pleased her.
Madame de Marelle came after him, Madeleine and he arranged their marriage and he was charmed by her but wounded. Madame Walter is entranced with him and so is her daughter. Duroy is handsome, charming, and seeks to please all around him. He knows he has certain advantages but also knows what he does not know. Only toward the end does he begin to will, to produce the results that he wants.
This is a man who lives within the Symbolic Order of Seduction. What is the point of analyzing him psychologically. He is a small squirming insect in a thick web of the world with only a limited amount of wiggle room. When Destiny beckons, he follows.
No I cannot see any reason to castigate him. To heap abuse on his character. Within his world I find him admirable. And de Maupassant is amazing, far better than I had previously thought him to be.
Following Baudrillard in the instructions given to him for his journalism:
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