Opinions I Once Had About Musicals

This is a list of beliefs I had about musicals at one point my journey. I will talk about why I had those options and will talk about why I no longer have those opinions. But now, each of those points have been disproven by Les Mis.

Possible Spoilers:

My first opinion was all musicals are happy. I only said that because that was all I had seen and due to that I believed every musical was happy. Les Mis disproved that and even Rent did the same thing. But it really was Les Mis that disproved it. I saw the movie musical back in 2012 and that was my first full exposure to the musical. While watching I discovered Les Mis was a heartbreaking musical and did not know how to respond. Over time Les Mis became such an important part of my musical journey and my life. I realized NOT all musicals are happy like I once believed.

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A second opinion I had about theatre in general is that I will always hate tragedies and will never learn to love one. Both Les Mis and Rent disproved that opinion as well. I love both of them. Both of them are sad and I can be particular when it comes to tragic musicals. I love them because they have amazing songs, characters, and storylines. Both go beyond their tragic nature. Les Mis has this underlying spirituality due to its forgiveness, compassion, love, hope, sacrifice, humanity and sacrifice and Rent has the message of living in the moment and measuring your life in love.

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A third opinion I had about theatre is that a death scene can never be memorable. Prior to Les Mis, I have seen death scenes in musicals, but I have forgotten about some of them and overlooked some of them. All of the death scenes in Les Mis but Javert’s are memorable. Those memorable deaths happen to characters who do not die alone and they all have some kind of joy in their death scenes. Fantine dies with Valjean by her side who promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Eponine, despite being shot, dies in the arms of Marius, the man she loves even though that love is unrequited. Gavroche and the students died standing up for what they believed in. Valjean died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius by his side.

So far, the only memorable death scenes in musicals happened to be from Les Mis. The fact that Javert was the only character to die alone shows just how memorable the other deaths are. All of my favorite characters are dead by the end of the musical. But they still have a wonderful fate.

A fourth opinion that formed is that every musical must have some dance or spectacle element and those two are still part of my musical vision. Once again, Les Mis disproved that point again. Through Les Mis, I realized just how incredible a musical can be without a dance or spectacle element.

A fifth opinion I had is that negative emotions can never go beyond sad. I started to understand the negative emotions in middle school. By high school, I knew sad was common and was important. But I believed the negative emotions could never be more. Les Mis once again disproved that point. I realized there is more to sad when it comes to the negative emotions. I had no idea I was 100% blind to heartbreak. It isn’t just heartbreak that entered: it is just how deep the heartbreak actually is in Les Mis.

This might be connected, but even other emotions changed as a result of realizing heartbreak is musical emotion. It affected joy and love as well. Look at heartbreaking love songs and look at heartbreaking song with joy in it. Look at just how insightful and truthful and powerful they can be. Prior to Les Mis, I don’t remember if a musical song made me cry, but in Les Mis, I cry each time I listen to the song or even watch the musical in any way.

So Les Mis really showed me a side of musicals I had never seen before. I had all of these opinions only because of what I had known about musicals. It had to do with what I remembered. It had to do with how I interpreted them. Since happy musicals used to take up every single musical, I ended up calling most musicals happy and calling all musicals joyful. It makes sense why I thought a death scene could never be memorable. So in many ways, this post shows a huge reason why Les Mis played such a huge part in my musical journey.

What are some opinions you once had about musicals and did anything disprove them?

Is Marius and Cosette a Wonderful Couple?

Yesterday, I talked about why I am not bothered by “love at first sight” in a musical. Today, I will talk about a couple that falls in “love at first sight”. Those two characters are Marius and Cosette from Les Mis. A lot of people think that they shouldn’t have been a couple because they fall in “love at first sight” and that Marius should have ended up with Eponine. Well, in this post I will explain why I love Marius and Cosette together.

Possible Spoilers:

When you first meet Cosette, she is lodging with the Thenardiers and she is eight at the time. You learn that she is horribly abused by them and is forced to be a servant. But Jean Valjean comes to the rescue after promising Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own after she dies.

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In Les Mis, Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light. True, she isn’t as developed as many of the other characters, but she grew up in a very sheltered and protected life. Valjean only sheltered her because he is an ex-convict and if he is out much, he has the danger of being caught by Javert. Yes, I love Eponine the most out of the three despite how horrible and dark her life is. Yes, in a way it would be happy if Eponine ended up with Marius, but if that was the case it would not make sense at all and Eponine just wouldn’t seem like the Eponine we come to love.

One interesting plot point in Les Mis is the switch that happens that Eponine and Cosette. Cosette had a horrible childhood, but her life improved after Jean Valjean rescued her. The rescue of Cosette is one place where you begin to understand that Cosette is supposed to represent hope. In the case of Eponine, she starts out by being spoiled by her parents and appears to be loved by her parents however that is not always going to be the case. After Cosette is rescued by Jean Valjean, Eponine gets the same treatment that Cosette got and her parents teach her the ways of being a criminal and her family falls into extreme poverty. So due to the switch, it makes perfect sense why Cosette ends up with Marius and why Eponine ends up with unrequited love for Marius.

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Les Mis is played out so nicely that it truly works that Marius and Cosette get together. If it wasn’t for Eponine, Marius would never have met Cosette after he fell in love with her. True, when Marius fall in love with Cosette, he was conflicted between his passion for the rebellion and his passion for Cosette. He does decide to fight in the rebellion after believing that Cosette is leaving. As a matter of fact, if Marius never loved Cosette, he most likely would have died during the rebellion because Valjean would not have come to the barricade to protect him. During the rebellion, Valjean learned that Cosette loves Marius and due to that, he heads over to the barricades to protect Marius.

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Marius faced a lot of trauma at the barricades. First, Eponine was fatally wounded and that left him quite upset. But he still showed compassion by being with her till she died. In an odd way, it even makes sense that Eponine died because it makes perfect sense why Marius would be the only survivor. The real June Rebellion was highly unsuccessful, which is why it makes sense that Eponine, Gavroche Enjolras and all the students died during the rebellion and it makes sense that Marius survived because if he died, Cosette would not be able to represent hope and light and Jean Valjean would have had less of a spiritual journey and Les Mis just wouldn’t be Les Mis. “Bring Him Home” is Valjean praying to God to protect Marius and allow him to survive. After Marius fall unconscious, Valjean carried Marius to safety. Marius suffered from survivor’s guilt after discovering he is the only one alive. Cosette did care for Marius while he was recovering so Cosette does show that she loves him even if it is hard to notice.

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Due to Cosette representing hope and light, Marius needed to survive. Cosette and Marius did survive during all of Les Mis and did get married. Of all the Les Mis characters who survived (which isn’t many), Marius and Cosette are my favorite characters. Les Mis is such a tragic tale and as a result, I love that Cosette represents hope and light. That is why it makes sense that she got married to Marius and that both she and Marius survived all of Les Mis. True, Marius knew Eponine longer than Cosette, but why should that be a factor into who Marius falls in love with? I love “A Heart Full of love”, the love song in the piece and most of it focuses on Marius and Cosette and later it focuses on all three. This love triangle isn’t silly because love is one of the biggest themes in the musical and it means love in different forms and the love triangle forms two types of love.

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In relationship to this post, below I have a link to a post I wrote about the love triangle in Les Mis.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/love-triangle-of-les-mis/

What are your thoughts on Marius and Cosette as a couple?

Letter to Cosette, Marius, and Eponine

Dear Cosette, Marius, and Eponine,

You three are part of one of my favorite sub-plots in Les Mis. Your youthful love triangle bring wonderful texture and emotion to the story. Many fans have called this love triangle silly, but in my opinion it most certainly is not.

Marius, I cannot believe I am telling you this, but many people have actually called you a jerk for the most absurd of reasons. They only say that because you were oblivious to Eponine’s love of you. Well, I honestly don’t believe that at all. You are such a sweet, kind, and compassionate person. You actually never appeared to be a jerk to Eponine and people have called you a jerk since you always rely on Eponine to help you end up with Cosette. Well, one reason why you never knew Eponine loved you is that she never told you. By the way, I am so glad you were kind and nice to Eponine. She deserves it because of how dark and empty her life is. You were very aware of how sad and miserable her life was.

Cosette, I love what you represent in the story. You are the light and hope in this tragic tale. You started out with a horrible life due to being abused by the Thenardiers when you were younger. But it slowly improved over time thanks to being rescued by Jean Valjean, your adopted father. By the way, your mother, Fantine, loved you very much and Valjean fulfilled his promise to Fantine by raising you as his own. I believe you and Marius make a wonderful couple despite what I have heard others say. People seem to forget your importance to Les Mis. I know you are one of the lesser developed characters, but you are still a wonderful character.

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Eponine, you are such a special person. I know your life started out well with you appearing to be loved by her parents. But when you and Cosette got older, the tables got turned and you ended up being abused by your parents. They even raised you to be a criminal. I cannot believe you hardly had any good things happen in your life. You were never around good people in your life. Your life became even worse than ever before. You did find some source of light through Marius, the only person who ever showed you kindness. That is why you love him and despite your love for him becoming unrequited, it is wonderful you would do anything for Marius. I know this sounds crazy, but for plot purposes, it is fascinating to me that your life and Cosette’s life literally swapped places. I honestly wish your life was better and that you had a better family life.

Through all three of you, the emotions are very conflicting as a matter of fact. Marius, when you and Cosette first bump into each other, I cannot help but feel for all three of you. The same pattern happens towards the end of “A Heart Full of Love” when that duet becomes a trio. So the love triangle is developed nicely. It is important to the plot of Les Mis because love is one of the key themes in Les Mis. It shows love in several forms, which is why it is fitting Les Mis is home to this youthful love triangle.

Wrap-up of Les Mis Character Analysis

Major Spoilers:

For the past couple of days I have been analyzing the Les Mis characters. The ones I analyzed are Jean Valjean (protagonist), Javert (antagonist), Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, the Thenardiers, Enjolras, the students, and Gavroche. These memorable characters are one of the biggest reasons why this musical is so successful. These analysis’ shows how interlocked their lives are. It shows how they directly and indirectly they affect each others lives. They all belong in Les Mis because something no good happens to every single one of them. Most of them die by the end of Les Mis and the only survivors are Marius, Cosette, and the Thenardiers.

Below I will give a few adjectives to describe the characters. If I put an arrow, it shows if their personality changes.

Jean Valjean: bitter, harsh, angry> compassionate, merciful, forgiving

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Javert: obsessive, strict

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Fantine: loving, heartbreaking, tragic

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Cosette: broken>curious, romantic, considerate, hopeful

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Marius: revolutionary, romantic, compassionate, kind

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Eponine: spoiled> loving, lonely, neglected, unloved, brave, fearless

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Thenardiers: abusive, greedy, selfish, cruel, unloving

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Enjolras and students-passionate, brothers, Enjolras (leader)

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Gavroche: brave, heroic

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There is a reason why all of these characters are so loved. It is very hard to pick a favorite even though I love some more than others. As for the females, my favorite is Eponine and have no idea why. These characters are quite complex and you feel like you get to know them. They are so important and though most may die, most die not alone, but with somebody like Valjean being by Fantine’s side when she dies or Eponine dying in Marius’ arms.

What are your thoughts on the Les Mis characters

 

Analysis of Marius

This post is mainly dealing with musical Marius, but might add some facts about book Marius as well.

Major Spoilers:

We first meet Marius in 1832. The very first we learn about him is that he is this young, revolutionary student, who is rallying people to support the upcoming uprising. In the book, he has a political struggle with his grandfather. His grandfather raised Marius because Marius’ father has different political views than his grandfather. Marius believes that his father does not even love him, but he soon learns that his father did love him and that has Marius look up more about the political person that his father supports. He leaves his grandfather and decides to live a life of poverty and does not want help from his grandfather even if his grandfather sends him money.

He is close friends with Enjolras, the leader of the uprising. Marius is a law student and also a romantic. One day he bumps into Cosette and instantly falls in love with her despite the fact that Eponine is in love with Marius. Marius has a close relationship to Eponine and is completely oblivious to Eponine’s feelings for him. Falling in love with Cosette has Marius struggle between the cause he believes in and the love of his life.

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He does ask Eponine to help find Cosette for him because he knows she is streetwise due to being involved in her father’s schemes. Marius still cannot figure out that Eponine loves him. As a matter of fact, Marius is the only person in Eponine’s life who ever shows her kindness. Marius is quite a sweet and nice person despite how oblivious he is to Eponine’s love.

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A lot for what Marius does is either for the sake of Cosette or for the sake of the cause that he believes in. He eventually is able to confess his love to Cosette after Eponine shows him Cosette’s house. Thenardier tries to rob Valjean’s house while Marius and Cosette are confessing their love for each other. Eponine, Thenardier’s daughter, alerts Valjean of the danger. Marius thanks for preventing the robbery and introduces her to Cosette. He discovers that Cosette and her father are about to leave for London. Marius is conflicted on whether or not he should become a part of the rebellion due to his love for Cosette. Marius does decide to get involved in the rebellion with his friends.

At the beginning of Act two, Marius notices that Eponine has joined the revolutionaries. In order to protect her, he asks her to deliver a letter to Cosette. Marius does not want her to return to the barricades because he does not want her to get hurt. But Eponine still returns to the barricades.

While climbing over, she gets caught in the crossfire and as a consequence she gets fatally wounded. Marius automatically asks her if she saw Cosette without realizing that she is terribly wounded, but that’s because Eponine was trying to cover up her wound. But once she collapses in Marius’ arms, he finally realized how hurt Eponine truly is. This completely devastates Marius and he does not want her to die, but he decides to be compassionate and stay brave for her. He does not leave her side and offers her comfort. Eponine finally learns that she did mean something to Marius. Marius views Eponine as a friend and does love her, but not in the romantic sense.

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Valjean arrives at the barricades in order to protect Marius because his daughter loves him. At the time of “Drink With Me”, Marius is still devastated about Eponine’s death. All of the students feel completely hopeless during this scene. They saw what they were up against at the time of Eponine’s death and knew they were outnumbered and knew that they most likely going to die.

Valjean is worried that Marius will not survive the night and prays to God to save him. The next day during the final battle, Marius gets seriously wounded and falls unconscious and Valjean carries Marius through the sewers in order to save Marius’ life and takes him back to his grandfather’s. Marius has lost all of his friends at the barricade including Eponine. It takes Marius several months to recover and the events that happened at the barricade matured Marius. He does go through survivor’s guilt and wishes that he died as well even though he still has Cosette.

Marius and Cosette do eventually get married. This when the Thenardiers try to scam Marius out of money. He learns during this scene that Valjean saved his life at the barricades and Marius take Cosette to see Valjean. Too late because Valjean is dying, but he got to die with Marius and Cosette by his side. At the end, Marius and Cosette have lost everything expect for each other.

Marius gets a lot of hate by Les Mis fans. They call him a jerk just because he stays oblivious to Eponine’s feelings for him and does not realize that she loved him until her death. But I don’t think Marius ever treated Eponine like that. He was the only person who even showed Eponine any sort of kindness. People think that Marius and Cosette have their happily ever after, but in reality not really. Cosette had a terrible childhood and later her father dies. Marius faced a lot of trauma at the barricade because we watched all of his friends die. Marius is in fact capable of compassion, which is especially shown during Eponine’s death. He stays with her even though he is devastated.

He always showed Eponine kindness. Marius is not even a jerk at all and it is unfair to call him that because he does not know Eponine loves him. But Eponine never told him her feelings for him until the time of her death. I think Marius and Cosette make a lovely couple and of the characters who survive, Marius and Cosette are my favorite characters.

Part of what Marius is based off is young Victor Hugo. A big reason why I love Marius and Cosette together is because their relationship is based off of young Victor Hugo and his first love.

The next analysis is for Eponine Thenardier.

Analysis of Cosette

Major Spoilers

Cosette is Fantine’s daughter and later becomes Valjean’s adopted daughter.

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We first learn about Cosette through Fantine. Fantine had to leave her daughter into the hands of the Thenardiers. Little did she know how poorly the Thenardiers would treat Cosette. The Thenardiers make Fantine believe that her daughter is seriously ill just to make money. The Thenardiers horribly abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Cosette is especially scared of Madame Thenardier. Cosette hopes for a better life and through “Castle on a Cloud”, we learn she gets through the abuse through fantasies that she creates. The money that Fantine sends for Cosette is used to spoil the Thenardiers’ daughter, Eponine. Following her parent’s lead, Eponine treats Cosette poorly as well. The Thenardiers force Cosette to collect water late at night, which terrifies Cosette.

On Christmas Eve, Valjean meets Cosette for the first time. It was during one of those times when the Thenardiers sent Cosette into the woods to collect water from the well. Cosette is eight at the time and Valjean cannot believe that this is the little girl that he was looking for. A couple scenes back, Valjean promises to her dying mother that he would raise Cosette as his daughter. Valjean learns the truth about Cosette and cannot believe the abuse that Cosette had to face. Cosette was scared of Valjean at first, but later learns to trust him as they walk back to the Thenardiers’ inn.

Valjean had to buy Cosette away from the Thenardiers, but they try to make Valjean believe that Cosette is in good hands with them, but Valjean knows the truth. Cosette finally gets the freedom she wants and Valjean becomes a loving father to her. Both Valjean and Cosette are both broken and have never found love before and they help heal each other.

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Nine years pass and Cosette becomes this seventeen year old teenager. She is living with a loving father. Cosette is very protective and sheltered, which makes sense because Valjean is always on the run from Javert. This makes raising Cosette quite difficult at times. One day in the street, a law student named Marius bumps into Cosette and automatically falls in love with her and the same thing happens to her. Eponine is also in love with Marius and she is now living in extreme poverty and has become a part of the criminal world.

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The two girls lives have literally switched places. Cosette is quite curious and demands to know the past of her adopted father and her mother, but Valjean is not willing to tell her. She is even charitable, which she learned through Valjean. There is not much to her at this point in the story, but she is still an incredible character. The relationship between Valjean and Cosette is quite special. They found happiness for the first time through each other. Cosette was horribly abused as a child and Valjean faced hard labor in prison. They both have gone through some kind of trauma and through their relationship, they found some kind of happiness.

Eventually Marius find Cosette again because Eponine found the address for him. The two lovers confess their love for each other as Eponine watches in the background. At this point, the Thenardiers try to rob Valjean’s house, but Eponine screams to warn Valjean and Valjean believes that Javert has found him so he tells Cosette that they are leaving for England. Cosette does not want to leave due to her love for Marius, but even Valjean does not know that she loves Marius.

Valjean does learn that Cosette is in love with Marius in the second act after Eponine delivers a note from Marius to Cosette. Valjean heads to the barricades to protect Marius due to how much he loves Cosette. After Marius becomes seriously injured, Valjean takes Marius to his grandfather’s house. While Marius is recovering, Cosette helps take care of him. Later Cosette’s adopted father dies and all Marius and Cosette have is each other. Even though they both have happier fates than a lot of the other characters, they still have faced lots of trauma in their lives: Cosette as child and Marius watching all of his friends die.

Lots of Les Mis fans dislike Cosette just because she fall in love with Marius and because she does not have much depth to her. True Cosette is kind of one dimensional when she becomes a teenager. But there is no need to dislike Cosette because she loves Marius and because Marius loves Cosette. There is nothing wrong with the love triangle between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine. People feel like Marius and Cosette should never have become a couple in the first place and that Marius should be with Eponine. I believe that Marius and Cosette is a wonderful pairing and as a matter of fact, that relationship is based off young Victor Hugo and his first love. That is one big reason why I love Marius and Cosette together. True people might think that Valjean shelters and protects Cosette too much, but Valjean was an ex-convict on the run. So many people tend to forget about young Cosette.

There is a reason why Cosette is the logo of Les Mis. She played such a big part of Valjean’s life and she even connects to the other character’s storylines as well. She is Fantine’s daughter, involved in a love triangle with Eponine and Marius, Marius is one of the revolutionaries, used to live with the Thenardiers and because she is Valjean’s adopted daughter, she connect to Javert’s storyline because they are always on the run from Javert. Cosette represents hope and light in this tragic tale and Victor Hugo compares her to a lark. I like Cosette as a character even though she is not as developed as many of the other characters.

Next post is for Marius

Analysis of Fantine

Fantine’s story is very heartbreaking and tragic.

Major Spoiler

We first meet her during “At the End of the Day”. She is working at Valjean’s factory and the other factory workers have grown suspicious of her. At one point in the song, a factory woman sees her with this letter and steals it from her. The letter says that her daughter, Cosette, is seriously ill and needs money as soon as possible. But the heartbreaking part is that the letter is a hoax sent by the Thenardiers in order to scam her out of money. When Fantine was younger, she was quite naive and she had an affair with this man named Tholymés and they have a child together, but he completely abandons her and Cosette is about two or three at the time. Knowing that it would be hard to get a job with an illegitimate child, she left Cosette in the hands of the Thenardiers.

Fantine has no clue that the Thenardiers are horribly abusing her daughter. Fantine and this factory woman get into a fight and Valjean arrives. Valjean asks the foreman to break it up. The factory workers confess that Fantine has a child and demands that she be fired. She ends up getting fired and Fantine becomes even more desperate. Her dreams are broken and she is devastated. She knows she somehow has to still provide for her child and make sure she is paid for and she really believes that her daughter is actually dying, but that is not even true. After being fired, Fantine blames Monsieur Madeline (AKA Valjean) for her being fired and she starts to have a dislike towards him, but Valjean has no idea that she was just fired due to having an illegitimate child.

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At the docks, Fantine ends up selling her locket, her hair, and becomes a prostitute in order to provide for her daughter. At this time in France, women were not given many opportunities in the job world and it was dangerous to be known you have an illegitimate child. Right after Fantine becomes a prostitute, an abusive customer harasses her and in self-defense, she attacks the man. Javert is there at the scene and plans to arrest her because she attacked the man and only sees her as this prostitute. Fantine even tells him that she has a child, but even after that fact, Javert still shows her no mercy. Valjean sees the whole scene take place and intervenes to prevent Fantine from being arrested.

Fantine confesses to Valjean that she was fired from his factory. Out of mercy, Valjean has Fantine taken to the hospital because she has fallen seriously ill. Valjean feels guilty that Fantine was fired from his factory and wants to make up for it. On Fantine’s deathbed, she is still worried about her child and still cares. She doesn’t know what will happen to her child once she dies. Valjean agrees to Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own and this decision allows Fantine to die in peace and comfort.

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Fantine’s downfall wasn’t even her fault. Her downfall was due to society. She was abandoned by her lover and that was where her downfall actually begins. At the factory, it was the factory worker that demand she be fired. Fantine’s story shows how mistreated women were in nineteenth century France. Everything Fantine does is done out of love for her child and she is truly a mother.

As a matter of fact, Fantine was based off of reality. Victor Hugo saw a prostitute being harassed and that prostitute was about to be arrested, but Hugo intervened and prevented the arrest. That is when Hugo began to wonder what if this prostitute had a child and that was where the character of Fantine was inspired from.

Next analysis is for Cosette