The Queen of Spades: A Tale of Obsession and Madness

July 2, 2024


“The Queen of Spades” (La Dame de Pique) is a novella by the renowned Russian author Alexander Pushkin, translated into French by Prosper Mérimée and first published in 1834. Unlike Pushkin’s earlier works, which often delve into folklore and history, this story is set against the backdrop of high society and the randomness of fate in St. Petersburg.

The Plot Unfolds
Hermann’s Obsession

Hermann, a young German officer, has always refrained from gambling. However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he hears about an old countess, Anna Fedotovna, who supposedly regained her lost fortune through a secret combination of three cards. Intrigued and driven by the promise of wealth, Hermann becomes determined to uncover this mysterious combination.
Seduction and Deceit

To get closer to the countess, Hermann decides to woo her young ward, Lisaveta Ivanovna. He believes that by gaining Lisaveta’s trust, he can eventually learn the countess’s secret. Hermann’s plan seems to be working as he successfully charms Lisaveta, who arranges a secret meeting with him.
The Fatal Encounter

On the night of their rendezvous, Hermann sneaks into the countess’s room instead of meeting Lisaveta. Startled by Hermann’s armed threat, the countess collapses and dies instantly. This tragic turn of events sets the stage for the story’s eerie climax.
The Supernatural Revelation

During the countess’s funeral, Hermann is shocked to see her corpse wink at him. That night, she appears in his dream, revealing the secret combination: the three, the seven, and the ace. However, she makes him promise to marry Lisaveta and never gamble again.