Conflits sociaux, moraux et économiques dans Mathilde de Félix Pyat et Eugène Sue

This article studies Félix Pyat’s and Eugène Sue’s 1842 drama, Mathilde, in order to show how money serves as a lever of power used to challenge and contest traditional moral values, the integrity of the family, and the foundations of social organization. Lugarto, the drama’s wealthy and unscrupulous villain, is both a racial outsider and a social interloper who takes advantage of the secrets he has uncovered and the prestige afforded by the fortune he has inherited to bend others to his will. The play also highlights the way money, gender and the law intersect to circumscribe the lives of women. Because the representation of women is determined here by actual historical forces, the status of women as virtuous victims is made somewhat more realistic than it had been in melodramas earlier in the century. (In French.)

Barbara T. Cooper
University of New Hampshire