“Barry Lyndon” is the first novel of Thackeray, the Thackeray, who later write a beautiful piece of vanity Fair, moving on the pages of the novel one of the best images of adventuress – Rebecca Sharpe, but so far invite to the stage the Irishman Redmond Barry.
A liar, a cheat, an opportunist, a fraud, a mercenary in the army of Friedrich II of Prussia, a cynic, devoid of any moral principles, affections and feelings, existing only to achieve the greatest benefit for myself. It does not matter to him at what cost these benefits would not have been achieved. The course is all: blackmail, a duel, a fight, a deception. Throughout. If only it was in the hands of the most beautiful and brave man in Europe.
Skill Thackeray in absolute realism to describe the world and people, showing the ugly underbelly of the aristocratic world that sparkled and shimmered with all the shades of luxury, the author does not soften and smoothes monstrous and ugly warts on a great aristocratic body. Yes, and the protagonist of the novel is not so much the Redmond Barry as society itself in its hideous bloody wars, inhuman recruitment, unsightly and dissolute life of the aristocracy, of venality and cynicism great of this world (the violent death of the Duchess Olivia, for example), card games, lost status and honor.
A brilliant society without a mask of decency, such as it is. Of course, against this society itself is Redmond Barry doesn’t look that bad guy, he just took what he was given, sometimes, however, took away by force and blackmail, but this is a trifle in comparison with the same Seven-year war, which killed thousands. Barry himself, by the way, not without fastidiousness writes about the burned houses of peasants who gave shelter and food to the military.
But in Thackeray’s “Barry Lyndon” was aimed to draw a portrait of a cynical scoundrel and adventurer, depriving this way even a touch of romance and mystery. Redmond Barry is the villain did not disdain any means in achieving pleasure, which promised him the life. After leaving his native Ireland, after the duel (in General without worrying that killed the man), Barry goes on a journey: first send in the British army, then the Prussian army, then begins his brilliant ascent to the world of the aristocracy by the Studio of playing cards. Then the journey through the European courts and, finally, ends with the marriage of the richest woman in Ireland – lady Lyndon.
The story is on behalf of the villain, truths, suddenly, his lips beginning to sound contrary, devaluing all the beautiful words. Only actions remain. Only the actions and attitudes of others are important. And nothing changes in the world: money, position in society, a passionate desire to be among the strong of this world and any means to achieve the cherished goals are suitable – such was the man then and he is now. Is changing only entourage.