When reading “The Queen of Spades” by Alexander Pushkin, “Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen, and
“Hautot and His Son” by Guy de Maupassant, one cannot help but notice the outstanding effect death has on the
characters in the stories and the plots.
Death is very important in these stories because the main characters are all
directly affected by the deaths of their peers.
Even though the character’s lives are affected in different ways and
resulted in different outcomes, the commonality between the three authors was death.
Psychology, and the fear of
death (or the lack of fear) can explain the reasons behind these characters’ reactions to death.
An interesting point
to look at will also be how the characters’ lives would have changed (or stayed the same) if those deaths had
These three stories contain a mix of static/flat characters and dynamic/round characters.
Pushkin illustrates his main character, Hermann, as a dynamic and round character, giving him a conflict and a
major life change.
The Countess, however, is a static and flat character, who sees no major change in personality
or conflict during the period in her which life the story refers to.
In Henrik Ibsen’s story, Hedda Gabler is a
dynamic and round character, much like Hermann, in that a major conflict occurs, spurring an important reaction.
Caroline, a character in Guy de Maupassant’s short story can also be considered a dynamic and round character,
as the life she knew was forever altered after a horrible incident.
In the same story, the elder Hautot and his son,
Cesar, are flat characters, since not much is known about their personalities prior to the story.
However, while the
elder Hautot can be considered a static character, Cesar endures a personality change after the same horrible
In Alexander Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades”, the character of Hermann is driven by greed to threaten
an old woman, the Countess, with an unloaded gun.
The shock of being threatened with a gun or any weapon for
that matter would put anybody in a state of panic, and the Countess’s old age only exacerbated the situation.
While his only intention was to scare the Countess into giving him what he wanted, Hermann never thought his
actions would cause a heart attack, let alone death.
Despite not knowing the Countess, except for that one encounter, her death had a very large impact on
what is known of the rest of Hermann’s life.
His guilt starts to eat away at him, causing him to drink heavily one
He drinks so much that he either hallucinates seeing the Countess, or passes out and dreams of her.