Based on the novel by Stendhal (Henri Beyle, 1783–1842), The Red and the Black tells the story of Julien Sorel, a talented and ambitious young peasant. Sorel manages to cynically and hypocritically manipulate those around him to gain a position as a secretary with a prominent Marquis--and to seduce his employer's beautiful daughter, Mathilde. But he doesn't love Mathilde--doesn't love anyone, really--and when he murders another woman with whom he's had an affair, the law inexorably grinds him in its gears. He refuses the assistance of his “wife,” and proudly goes to his rendezvous with La Guillotine. His death, after all, is the only real protest he can make! First-rate drama by a master playwright.