The Assassin (Maupassant)

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The Assassin
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man killed his employer after learning about his wife's infidelity with the employer's son. The man's defense attorney argued that his client's reverence for his wife led to the crime, and he was acquitted.

A respectable man named Jean-Nicholas Lougère, who was an employee with an unblemished record, assassinated his employer in a fit of rage.

Jean-Nicholas Lougère — respectable man; employee; gentle, timid, and reverent; becomes an assassin.

Lougère was raised in a devout and simple-minded family, where he was taught to revere certain values and beliefs. He married his cousin, who shared a similar upbringing, and they lived a happy and honest life together. Unfortunately, his wife passed away from typhoid fever, leaving Lougère devastated.

Unable to cope with the loneliness, Lougère began frequenting a nearby café, where he met a young woman who worked as a cashier. They eventually married, but the woman had a history of deceitful behavior and continued her affairs even after their marriage.

The Little Blonde — Lougère's second wife; deceitful, manipulative, and unfaithful.

She seduced several employees at Lougère's workplace, including the son of his employer, M. Langlais.

M. Langlais — employer; victim of the crime; father of the son involved with Lougère's wife.

When M. Langlais discovered his son's involvement with Lougère's wife, he confronted Lougère and told him that he would have to let him go. Lougère demanded an explanation, but M. Langlais refused to provide one. In a fit of anger, Lougère grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed M. Langlais in the throat.

During the trial, Lougère's defense attorney argued that his client's actions were a result of his upbringing and the betrayal he felt when he learned the truth about his wife.

The Young Counsel — defense attorney; inexperienced, but insightful and persuasive.

A man is not an upright man, a really upright man, in the full sense of the phrase, unless he is a reverent one.

After a brief deliberation, the jury acquitted Lougère.