The Drunkard (Maupassant)

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The Drunkard
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A fisherman got drunk with a friend, returned home, and in a drunken rage, brutally attacked his wife, who he suspected of infidelity, leaving her dead.

A northerly gale blew fiercely, causing great waves to crash upon the coast. In the small valley of Yport, two fishermen, Jérémie and Mathurin, decided to pass the time by playing dominoes and drinking brandy at Parmelle's café.

Jérémie — fisherman; tall, with a beard and blue eyes; easily tempted by alcohol; prone to violent outbursts.
Mathurin — Jérémie's friend and fellow fisherman; cunning and manipulative.
As the night wore on, the two men continued to drink heavily, with Mathurin paying for all the drinks. Jérémie says, "

The more goes down, the drier it gets, in there.


Eventually, the proprietor of the café decided to close up for the night, leaving the two men alone with a bottle of brandy. After finishing their game, Mathurin left Jérémie to find his way home. Jérémie, heavily intoxicated, stumbled through the dark streets, struggling to keep his balance against the strong winds.

Upon reaching his home, Jérémie had difficulty finding the keyhole to unlock the door. He called out to his wife, Mélina, for help, but received no response.

Mélina — Jérémie's wife; victim of his drunken rage.

As he leaned against the door, it suddenly opened, causing him to fall inside. He felt something heavy pass over him and escape into the night, leaving him terrified and confused.

Jérémie called out to Mélina several times, but she did not answer. His drunken mind began to suspect that Mathurin had been plotting against him, keeping him away from home so that someone else could be with his wife. In a fit of rage, Jérémie grabbed a chair and began to violently beat the bed where he believed his wife was hiding. Jérémie, in a drunken stupor, demands to know who was in his house when he arrived home, suspecting his wife of infidelity. This leads to his violent attack on her. "

Tell me who it was, Mélina, or I'll do you a mischief.

" A neighbor, noticing the open door the next morning, entered the house to find Jérémie asleep on the floor amidst the wreckage of the chair. In the bed lay the bloody and battered remains of Mélina, who had been brutally beaten to death by her enraged husband. Jérémie asks this question after brutally attacking his wife, Mélina, in a drunken rage. She does not respond, as she is already dead from his assault. "

Now will you say who it was?