Contemptuous of life as a carpenter’s son in his native town of Verrieres, Julien Sorel dreams of a fame as great as Napoleon’s. To this end he assumes many guises – celibate priest, self-effacing secretary and keen Royalist. He also impresses two very different women, Madame de Renal and Mathilde de la Mole, with disastrous consequences. Throughout the drama, Stendahl ironically records Julien’s absurd moral code and the corruptness of the world he strives to conquer. No matter how charming the rest of this tragicomedy; the final act is bloody.