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First, the male characters in Bel-Ami and Pierre et Jean use seduction appealing to women in order to be accepted by them because perhaps they do not accept themselves the way they are. George Duroy (Bel-Ami) seduces all the women in the novel because he does not have what Roy (Engendrement du Romanesque) calls the “ideal self”. It is this lack of self-confidence, the weakness of his ego, that pushes him to seduce. Duroy comes from a modest family which he wants to change by becoming wealthy.
Second, male protagonists often use seduction to change their identity, to take one some other identity. . In Bel-Ami, Duroy is frustrated of being part of the lower social rank, so he always tries to dissimulate his poverty from others. For example, when Duroy invites Mme de Marelle to his place, he changes the decor of his “shabby apartment” in order to hide his poverty. Also, in order to hide his peasant background, Duroy “forgets” to invite his parents to his wedding with Madeleine Forestier. Similarly in ‘Une vie’, Julien de Lamare disconcerts us by his successive metamorphoses all along the novel. The narrator portrays Julien as a handsome man, a seductor and as someone full of disguise and dissimulation. In fact, we realize that Julien is just a fortune hunter who knows how to play his physical appeal for seducing. Once he marries Jeanne, he drops his mask and reveals his true personality.
Third, men use seduction to reach wealth and power. Indeed, in Une Vie, Julien de Lamare comes from a ruined family and that had a great impact on him. Julien will do anything to seduce and marry a rich commoner (Jeanne) in order to regain legitimacy and the glamour of his name (Ball 56). In Bel-Ami, on Madeleine Forestier’s recommendations, Duroy seduces Mme de Marelle and then Mme Walter. One provides him with housing and money while the other makes him chief editor. After Mme de Marelle remark about Mme
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