Is there symbolism in the Les Mis deaths?

Major Spoilers:

This is an idea I have been thinking about for a couple of months now. Even though I had known for more than one year that all of the characters are with someone when they die except for one. I now sort of wonder why that just happens to be and if there is there some significance behind that. It might have something to do with the nature of the characters. But I am still trying to figure out that answer. I know that with some of the characters who are not alone, they just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjorlas and the students, and Valjean are the characters who are not alone at the time of their deaths. Fantine is with Valjean, Eponine is with Marius, Gavroche and the students are with each other, and Valjean is with Cosette and Marius. The main thing in common with these characters is that they all have the ability to show some kind of love, compassion, or forgiveness.

Fantine acted like a real mother because she showed unconditional love towards her daughter. She was abandoned by her lover and left to care for Cosette and having an illegitimate child was a bad situation to be in. She innocently handed her child off to the Thenardiers and they required a weekly sum. Coincidentally she ended up working at Valjean’s factory and one day it was discovered that she had an illegitimate child and was fired by the foreman because of it. Having no where to turn to, she had to turn to prostitution to provide for her child. She died for the sake of her child and was happy when she died because Valjean promised to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Fantine trusted Valjean and knew the her daughter was going to be well looked after.


Eponine was quite a surprise because her parents were the Thenardiers. For some reason, Eponine somehow developed a moral backbone especially because her parents were criminals. She was able to see the good in Marius and that is why she fell in love with him. He was the only light in her terrible life of abuse and extreme poverty, even though the love she had for him was unrequited.  Even though she was aware that Marius did not return her feelings, she cared more about his happiness then her own. She put her life at risk multiple times to help him. She agreed to help him find Cosette and prevented her father’s gang from robbing Valjean’s house to protect both Cosette and Marius. Because she wanted to be with Marius, she disguised herself as a boy to be at the barricades, but Marius noticed her and sent her away to deliver a letter to Cosette and she once again agreed. On the way back, she was unaware that she was about to get shot, but when she got fatally shot while climbing the barricades, she still climbed over to be with Marius. At first, she tried to cover up her injury because she did not want to scare him, but he found out after she collapsed in his arms, which left Marius devastated. Because she was dying in his arms, she felt safe and comforted despite being in so much pain and it was also her happiest moment of her life.


All of the students including Gavroche were martyrs who died for a cause, which was for the love of their country. They were angry at the unstable government and took a stand and fought even when they knew they were going to die. You would think that Gavroche had the saddest death because he was just a kid, but he died a heroic death and fought for what he believed in. Enjolras and the other students knew they going to die and lose at the time of the uprising, but stayed passionate in their cause and fought anyway.


At first, it would seem like Valjean was going to die alone, but that wasn’t the case. After Cosette and Marius’ wedding, the two of them arrived at the time of his death. It was a coincidence that they would show up because they arrived as he was about to pray to see his adopted daughter again. Despite being an ex-convict, he truly changed into a better man. He kept the promises he made towards both the bishop and Fantine. He ended up almost like a saint because of the number of lives he saved. He helped save Fantine, Cosette, and Marius. He was able to forgive Javert despite how much he hated Javert. He showed compassion towards the poor, Fantine, and Cosette. He showed this amazing amount of love towards Cosette, which is why he saved Marius at the barricade. Because of how much Valjean changed, his redemption was very strong at the time of his death.

Then there is Javert who committed suicide. He was the only one of the characters who did not have much compassion, forgiveness or love inside of him. He could not forgive Valjean even after Valjean released him from the barricades. The only thing he actually seemed to love is the law, which he follows very strictly. He sees the world in black and white and committed his entire life to capturing Valjean to put him back in prison. But after Valjean showed him mercy and compassion, he released he was wrong about Valjean because he assumed that criminals can never change. By seeing Valjean doing moral things, he realized he no longer has a reason to live because Valjean twisted his way of thinking. He finally came to senses and realized that everything he believed was false and that some of his actions were not the right thing to do.


Thoughts: What do you think, do you think there is an important symbolism and significance behind the fact that only one character dies alone and the others are with somebody?

1 thought on “Is there symbolism in the Les Mis deaths?

  1. Pingback: Obsessive Nature of Les Mis – Meg's Magical Musings

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