Study Guide

The Mysteries of Udolpho Greed

By Ann Radcliffe

Greed

Everyone desperately needs or wants more moolah in The Mysteries of Udolpho. Well, maybe except Valancourt, who's about as generous as they get. But everyone else surrounding Em on her journey to Udolpho and back is willing to backstab and marry willy-nilly to get some of that sweet, green cash.

Of course, it's not just about sheer greediness. The whole gang wants to survive and thrive, and money is kind of an essential part of that. But there's Quesnel, who only sees his niece as a gigantic dollar sign to cash in on, and Montoni, who won't stop raiding for loot. There's thriving and then there's rolling in dough, which seems to be the goal of most of these Greedy Gusses.

Questions About Greed

  1. Sure, she's saintly, but could you ever call Em greedy? Why or why not?
  2. What's the difference between greed and need? In other words, when does the need to survive become more about accumulating as much wealth as possible?
  3. Why does Em factor into so many characters' plans to get rich quick?
  4. Who's the greediest character?

Chew on This

There's a fine line between being greedy and being smart. For someone like Madame Cheron, being greedy is just like advocating for herself.

Em's decision to give away Udolpho is made to convince herself that she's not as greedy as her other relatives.

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