A poor but ambitious young man arrives in Paris and settles down in the boarding house run by Madame Vauquer. He soon gets to know the guests: Victorine Taillefer, a young lady her rich father refuses to recognize; Horace Bianchon, a medical student; Monsieur Vautrin, a mysterious and disconcerting man; Goriot, a rich merchant who spent all his fortune for his daughters, Delphine and Anastasie, to make a rich marriage. Eugène becomes friends with Goriot but while the former, thanks to his cousin Madame de Beauséant, is introduced in high society, Goriot, both exploited and scoffed at by his daughters, continues his descent into hell.
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