Dilemmas of Jean Valjean

Possible Spoilers:

In Les Mis, the main character, Jean Valjean, has to face many difficult discussions and he always does the right thing. The biggest dilemma he has to face is during the “who am I” scene. He just learned through Javert that they have captured “Valjean” and he is about to face the court and possibly be sent to prison. Valjean does not know what to do because he knows that someone falsely accused of being him could go to jail even though the man is innocent. He is thinking “do I save this man or do I not to help save my factory workers”. If he saves the man through showing everyone he is the real Valjean, then his position as owner of the factory and mayor of the town would be at risk. But if he doesn’t reveal himself, he will have the sense of freedom he wants.

Valjean finally decided what to do. He actually faced a difficult decision, but in the end he did the right thing. He actually decided to go to court and reveal that he is in fact the “real” Valjean”. He just could not see an innocent man go to Jail and Valjean knows through experience that being in prison is one of the worst things ever because you are faced to lots of hard labor. He also knows that being a prisoner can harden you and make you someone you are not. He actually showed empathy for the innocent man, but this act made Javert closer on recapturing Valjean, which he was obsessed through since Valjean broke parole.

Despite turning himself into the police, Valjean continued to fulfill his promise to the dying Fantine. After this act, he went back to the hospital to comfort Fantine during her final moments. During those moments, he promised Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own. But due to the incident in the courtroom, Javert arrived at the hospital ready to arrest Valjean. They went through a long confrontation and Valjean was able to escape and rescue the broken Cosette from the abusive Thenardiers’.

There are other dilemmas that Valjean face, but the one in the courtroom was the hardest one to face. Another one was when Valjean became aware that Marius, Cosette’s lover, is at the barricades and has a possibility that he will die. He does not want to lose Cosette forever, but he doesn’t want Marius to die either. But ultimately he decides to go to the barricades and save Marius from possible death. Valjean loves so Cosette so much that he is willing to sacrifice his happiness to give Cosette best possible life.

Valjean is a very complex character with this incredible journey. He goes on a strong spiritual journey to redemption. This journey starts out with Valjean as a harsh, angry, and hateful man. Valjean  gets redeemed very early on by the bishop, who saved his soul for God. The bishop was the only one who would show him compassion, forgiveness, and hospitality when he was released from prison . The bishop gave him a room and something to eat, but out of desperation, Valjean woke up in the middle of the night and stole the bishop’s silver. But the bishop was able to forgive Valjean and gave him two candlesticks, which became an important reminder to Valjean. They reminded him of the kindness the bishop gave him and helps him became a saint-like man. He shows compassion towards the poor and even to Fantine and Cosette. He saved both of them from a life of poverty. He saved Fantine by intervening and insisted that she is not to be arrested but instead sent to a hospital. Because Valjean learned that she had a child, Valjean promised to Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own. He was shocked to discover that Cosette was very broken and never felt loved. Valjean and Cosette have an interesting relationship because they both were broken before they found each other. Eventually by the end of the musical, Valjean become into almost like a saint-like man.



Author: mphtheatregirl

I am a strong spiritual person who is a big fan of musicals. This blog mainly is about musicals. Every so often I talk about spirituality. Sometimes I add in movie reviews, book reviews, and about my life in general. I hope you find my blog inspiring.

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