One of the things that is interesting in “Les Mis” is how two of the characters are mirror images of each other. They are the characters of Cosette and Eponine and as they get older their previous situations get reversed. Cosette starts out with a bad life and Eponine starts out with a good life, but when they get older their situations get reversed.
Major Spoilers ahead:
As a child, Cosette was horribly abused by the Thenardiers. She hoped for a better life despite being a broken child. Than there is Eponine who was spoiled as a child and had a better life than Cosette. Things changed right after Valjean adopted Cosette and took her away from the Thenardiers. Cosette represents light and hope in the midst of all the tragic events going on at the time.
As the two girls get older, their situations reverse. Cosette’s life improved and Eponine’s life got worse. Even though Cosette’s life got better because of her adopted life, she still lived a very sheltered life. Things changed when Cosette fell in love with Marius because she found a new purpose in life. After Valjean learned of her love for Marius, he went to the barricades to protect Marius and make sure he gets out of the barricade alive. Marius almost died at the barricades and Valjean heroically carried the unconscious Marius through the sewers in order to save his life. Cosette and Marius got married. During the wedding, Marius found out that it was Valjean that saved his life and they left the wedding to find Valjean and arrived just in time. Valjean was dying and he got to be with Cosette and Marius. This scene may have devastated Cosette, but at least she got to be with him.
In Eponine’s situation, her life gets much worse than where she started. The Thenardiers’ started mistreating her and raised her to be a criminal. The family fell into extreme poverty, which added to Eponine’s misery. Just like Cosette, she fell in love with Marius; however Eponine’s love for Marius was unrequited. I do not think Eponine would been as amazing as a character if she ended up with Marius. She helped Marius in anyway possible even if risked her life. She helped find Cosette for him after Marius asked her and was more loyal to him than her parents.
Her life would eventually get worse after her father tried to rob Valjean’s house. She warned Valjean about the danger because she was trying to protect Marius. This led her father to disown her. She fully risked her life when she decided to be with Marius no matter what, which led her to the barricades. When Marius first saw her at the barricades, he tried to protect her by asking her to deliver a letter to Cosette. After delivering the letter, she went back to the barricades despite what Marius told her. She got fatally shot on the way back and died in Marius’ arms.
It was during her death scene where Marius finally realized that she was in love with him. Despite her death being painful, she did not think of the pain because Marius was there for her. This was in fact Eponine’s happiest moment of her life even though it is heartbreaking. The beauty of it is that she got to die the arms of the one that she loves, which is why it seemed less painful than it really was.