A Parricide (Maupassant)

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A Parricide
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An illegitimate son killed his wealthy parents after discovering their identity, claiming it was his right to avenge their abandonment and the suffering they caused him throughout his life.

A young joiner named Georges Louis, known as "The Gentleman," was accused of murdering a wealthy couple who were his clients. He confessed to the crime but refused to give any reason for his actions.

Georges Louis (The Gentleman) — narrator; illegitimate son and joiner; intelligent, skilled in his craft, and vengeful.

The defense argued that Georges was insane, influenced by his political beliefs and his reading of violent novels. The prosecution did not have a strong case, and it seemed that Georges might be acquitted on the grounds of insanity.

I killed them because I wanted to kill them.

However, when asked if he had anything to say in his defense, Georges revealed the true motive behind the murders. He claimed that the couple were his biological parents who had abandoned him as a child.

The Father — wealthy man; Georges Louis' biological father; secretive, fearful of scandal.
The Mother — wealthy woman; Georges Louis' biological mother; secretive, emotionally unstable.

He had been raised by a kind woman in a nearby village and had grown up feeling the shame of being an illegitimate child. When he discovered the couple's identity, he confronted them, but they denied being his parents and threatened him with legal action.

Georges followed the couple one night and pleaded with them to acknowledge him as their son. His father struck him and pulled out a revolver, causing Georges to lose control and attack them with his callipers. He killed both of them and threw their bodies into the river.

I have avenged myself, I have killed. It was my lawful right. I took their happy lives in exchange for the horrible life which they imposed on me.

The trial was postponed after this revelation, leaving the jury to decide Georges' fate.