Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 31

By Émile Zola

Chapter 31

  • Thérèse and Laurent start leading separate lives of debauchery: Thérèse has affairs with other men, while Laurent begins to drink and consort with other women. 
  • They become increasingly suspicious of each other, each thinking that the other will inevitably confess to their murder. 
  • The two realize that this miserable state of affairs can't go on forever, and the same idea occurs to them at the same moment: Laurent decides to kill Thérèse because he's afraid she will destroy him, and Thérèse decides to kill Laurent for the same reasons. 
  • A match made in heaven, Thérèse and Laurent.  
  • The next day, Laurent steals a flask of poison (prussic acid, to be exact) from the laboratory of one of his chemist friends. 
  • And Thérèse sharpens a kitchen knife and hides it in the sideboard. 
  • Game on. (Murder 2.0, that is.)