As a way of figuring out why “Les Mis” is inspirational, I always find lines in the bible that represent what the show is. I know that the musical is very sad, but it is important for me to know why the show is as inspirational as it because it makes the experience even better. It is a story of sacrifice, love, forgiveness, humanity, compassion, hope, and redemption.
“For the spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirt that it within?”- 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
I found that passage in the bible yesterday and made me connect to “Les Mis”. The show is ultimately about the survival of the human spirit. When I first saw that on the “Les Mis” page, I did not know what that truly meant. When I saw that, I really had to figure out the survival of the human spirit means. I think that phrase can mean a number of things. In my opinion, the survival of the human spirit is how to thrive in life no matter what. The human spirit lives in everyone and it is about how to keep that spirit alive. It refers to what it means to be human and “Les Mis” truly represents that.
“Les Mis” takes place during a very dark time in France. It takes place after the the French Revolution and France was still recovering from that. During this time period, there were multiple rebellions and revolutions, an unstable government, and lots of injustice and misery. All of this is reflected in “Les Mis” at some point. Jean Valjean faces injustice for an unfair sentence in jail just for stealing a loaf of bread. He got sentenced for five years and fourteen extra for trying to escape. Than there is the unfair treatment of women during that time period, which is shown through the tragic character of Fantine, who went on a downward spiral after she got fired all because she an illegitimate child, which sounds unfair. The rebellion situation was shown through Enjorlas and the students when they started a uprising after a death of a very important man in the government. In addition, you see the condition of the poor during songs such as “At the End of the Day” and the second version of “Look Down”.
“Les Mis” speaks directly to the soul, which is why the emotions are as strong as they are. The musical teaches you what it means to be human and how you can rise above your background. This is shown through characters such as Jean Valjean and Eponine. Jean Valjean was released from prison with a hardened heart and was filled with so much anger and hatred toward society. No one would give him a chance because he was an ex-convict but was taken in by a compassionate bishop, who taught him the ways of the Lord and after this Valjean reflects on his current situation and decides to become a better person even if it means breaking parole. Time passes and he is now a successful businessman and is filled with so much spirituality, compassion, and kindness. He shows compassion towards the poor especially towards Fantine. By the end of the story, Valjean has become like a saint.
Even Eponine rose above her background, which is quite surprising considering who her parents are. The Thenardiers are Eponine’s parents and they are greedy, abusive, cruel, and mean. Once the family descends into poverty, they start mistreating Eponine more and they turn into criminals. But somehow, Eponine does not grow up to be like her parents. She does not want to be involved in her parent’s schemes, but she has to in order to survive. It was through her love for Marius that allows her to not be like her parent’s. She puts his needs first before her own even if it hurts her more and more because the love is unrequited.
Another quote in the bible that represents the show is “those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light”. This is very similar to the lyrics “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”. The musical has a sense of hope in it even though it is always hard to find. There is hope when you see people rising above their backgrounds and through the students.
There are several times in the musical where God is mentioned, which starts in the opening song. The thing I love about “Les Mis” is how inspirational it is despite the show being depressing. Because you see the characters thriving in difficult situations, it gives you hope for your life. It touches your soul in a way that is very inspirational and that feeling makes you want to continue watching the musical. It is hard to believe I can learn about this musical through the bible. But it does make sense because the show has a large connection to spirituality and there are perfect passages, which represent the show. In fact, the more I learn about it, the more inspirational the show gets and the less sad it appears. It will always be tragic in my eyes because there will always be the death and the misery, but in desperate times, there is still compassion.This show has meant so much to me and has impacted me in ways that I never thought possible.
“To love another person is to see the face of God”- Les Mis