Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 41

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 41

The Trial

  • The day of the trial arrives. Nearly the entire countryside has come out for the spectacle.
  • The vicar-general assures Mathilde that there's no way Julien will get the death penalty.
  • When it comes time for Julien to defend himself, though, he stands up and says all the same stuff he's been saying all along about wanting to kill Madame de RĂȘnal.
  • And for good measure, he uses his moment in the spotlight to tell all the fashionable people of France just how superficial and empty their souls are.
  • As you can imagine, this doesn't go over well with the jury.