Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 45

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 45

  • Julien mentions to his buddy Fouqé that he's willing to consider a last second escape from prison. Fouqé runs off to make the arrangements.
  • Madame de Rênal comes to visit Julien one last time. She's even run away from home to see him.
  • Mathilde hears about how often Madame is visiting Julien and she goes crazy with jealousy. Worse yet, the guy back in Paris who wants to marry Mathilde (Croisenois) has died in a duel.
  • There are lots of last-second plans to stop Julien's execution, but to no avail. The day quickly comes, and Julien is beheaded.
  • It's kind of abrupt, but yeah, he's dead.
  • The funeral procession takes Julien's body to be buried. But Fouqé manages to get a hold of Julien's body before it's buried.
  • Mathilde visits the house and holds Julien's head in her arms, just like one of her ancestors was rumored to have done for her lover's head a hundred years earlier.
  • Three days after Julien's death, Madame de Rênal drops dead for unknown reasons. She's hugging her children at the time.
  • Yeah, pretty grim ending for sure.