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.

-1823

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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-1832

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

Analysis of Jean Valjean (AKA 24601)

Major Spoilers:

-1815

In Les Mis, Jean Valjean is the protagonist and one of the most complex characters in the world of musicals. At the beginning of Les Mis, you discover that he stole a loaf of bread to save his sister’s dying son. Before Valjean was sent to person, he was a humble and good person. But when he was sent to jail, he spent five years for stealing a loaf of bread and fourteen years for trying to escape, which gives him a total of nineteen years in prison. In this scene, we discover Jean Valjean’s strong dislike towards Javert. This experience hardened Valjean into a harsh, angry, and hateful man and he lost touch of his conscience and forgot who he really is.

Jean Valjean left prison to be on parole forever. He quickly found out that society treated him cruelly because he is an ex-convict and never gave him a job, place to sleep, and food to eat. All of this hardened and angered Valjean further. Jean Valjean shows the injustice that convicts face when they leave prison. At this point, it doesn’t seem like Valjean will change.

Valjean’s fate soon changes once he meets the humble, forgiving, and loving bishop. Out of everyone, the bishop was the only one who would welcome Valjean. The bishop gave him a place to sleep and food to eat. But Valjean was desperate and ended up stealing the bishop’s silverware. Valjean was caught and was sent back to the bishop’s house and the bishop covered up for Valjean and said that the silver was a gift and gave Valjean the silver candlesticks. Valjean knows that he is guilty of stealing the silver and does not clearly understand why the bishop did what he did. The bishop wants to help Valjean head on the right path and gives Valjean’s soul to God. The bishop was able to teach Valjean the ways of the Lord and forgave Valjean. Valjean eventually had an epiphany and realized he needed to change and become a better person even though it means breaking parole. The bishop shows how much one person can directly impact another person’s life.

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-1823

Years pass and the transformation of Jean Valjean has begun. He was able to change his name to Monsieur Madeline, but unfortunately Javert become policeman in the town Valjean was mayor of. Besides mayor, Valjean also owned a factory where this woman, Fantine works. We first see Valjean during this time period after Fantine gets into a fight with this other woman, but Valjean asks the foreman to break up the fight. The stage show does not make it clear why Valjean decided to not help settle things in this scene. But according to the movie, Valjean became distracted by the sight of Javert and asked the foreman to settle things. Discovering that Fantine has an illegitimate child. she was fired from her job. Valjean has no idea that Fantine has a child and that she just got fired and Fantine blames Valjean for this.

Three scenes later, Valjean makes an amazing impact on Fantine’s life. Fantine was harassed by an abusive customer and in self-defense, Fantine attacked the man. Valjean was present at the time this took place. Javert wanted to sentence Fantine for six months in prison, but Valjean insisted that she be sent to the hospital instead especially because Fantine has fallen seriously ill at this point in the story. Valjean feels guilty that Fantine was fired from his factory after he discovers the truth about Fantine.

Right after this, Valjean rescues a man whose cart fall on top of him. Javert witnesses this and begins to suspect that Monsieur Madeline is in fact Jean Valjean. One of the greatest things about Valjean is his incredible strength and the book compares Valjean’s strength to the strength of four men. Javert confesses that the “real” Valjean has been found and is about to be sentenced to life in prison. This gives Valjean a dilemma because he could either turn himself in or not. He is mayor and owner of a factory and if he says he is Valjean, he will abandon tons of workers and it will affect his status as mayor. But Valjean knows what it is like to be in prison and feels the innocent man’s pain and agony. He decides to go with the second choice and confess that they caught the wrong man and that was a difficult decision, but the right decision.

On Fantine’s deathbed, Valjean promised to her that he would raise her child, Cosette, as his own. This shows that Valjean is learning how to show concern and compassion towards others. Right after Fantine dies, Javert arrives and tries to arrest Valjean, but Valjean wins and was able to rescue Cosette from the evil Thenardiers.

At this point, Valjean did believe that Cosette was deathly ill due to what Fantine, Cosette’s mother, told him. As a matter of fact, he saw that Cosette was being terribly abused. He discovers that when he finds the little girl in the woods collecting water at night. He was shocked to learn that this was the little girl he was looking for. Even though Cosette barely knew Valjean, she immediately trusted him. Valjean took Cosette back to the Thenardiers and insisted that he take Cosette away, but the Thenardiers insisted that Cosette is better in the hands of them, but Valjean saw through their lies and knew the truth about Cosette.

Cosette was the first person in Valjean’s life after prison that he loved. Cosette had such an impact on Valjean’s life even though it will be tough raising Cosette as he is still on the run from Javert. Valjean rescued Cosette from a terrible fate and raised her to be loving and charitable.

Yes, he may be overprotected and he might shelter Cosette a bit too much, but he is an ex-convict. Valjean’s love for Cosette shows that love can truly change a person. Before Cosette, he did love his sister and nephew before he was sent to prison, but he forgot how to love after being released. So through Cosette, Valjean learned to love again and she is another person that had a huge impact on Valjean’s life.

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-1832

Years pass and Cosette, now 17, has lived under the care of Valjean for nine years. She has one of the best fathers. Through Valjean, Cosette’s life changes as well. When the two meet, they were both broken people and they were healed through their love for each other. Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father through unexpected circumstances. As much as Valjean loves Cosette, he never once had the courage to tell Cosette about the darkness of his past. The Thenardiers try to rob Valjean twice: the first being during the Robbery and the second during the Attack at Rue Plumet.

The second time, Valjean was warned when Eponine screamed to alert Marius, Cosette, and Valjean. Valjean was convinced that Javert has found out where he lived and he made the decision to take Cosette to England, but he has no idea that his daughter has now fallen in love with a young revolutionary student named Marius. It is tough because Valjean still has to live the life of an ex-convict.

Later on in the show in act two, Valjean discovers that Cosette has in fact fallen in love with Marius through a letter that Eponine delivered to him. He soon leaves and it is not made clear in the stage show why Valjean leaves after he reads the letter and what he is planning to do. At this point, he don’t know if Valjean plans to save Marius or not. Valjean does not want to rescue Marius in a way because that risks losing Cosette forever or he can actually go to the barricades to protect the one that his adopted daughter loves. Due to how much Valjean loves Cosette, Valjean makes one of the most difficult decisions ever.

We later learn that Valjean arrives on the barricades and I think he went out of love for Cosette in order to protect Marius. Enjolras does not trust Valjean, but after Valjean warns them of some army people, Enjolras learns to trust him. Valjean was given the task of executing Javert, but Valjean decided to let Javert go and shows Javert mercy and forgiveness. Valjean even shows that people can learn to forgive their enemies, which shows through this scene. Valjean realizes that the students and Marius have a slim chance of surviving the uprising and he prays to God to save Marius.

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During the actual uprising, Marius became seriously wounded and fell unconscious, which forces Valjean to carry Marius through the sewers. He did this because he wants to save the man that his adopted daughter loves. If it wasn’t for Valjean, Marius would have died at the barricades.Valjean decides to confess to Marius the truth about him being an ex-convcit and it is not made clear why Valjean makes this decision. Valjean does not attend his daughter’s wedding in order to protect her due to his ex-convict status.

Because Cosette is now out of Valjean’s life, he feels completely broken. He is now dying due to a broken heart. He almost died alone. But at the wedding, Marius discovers that Valjean was his savior at the barricades and learns of Valjean’s current location and takes Cosette there. Marius confesses to Cosette that Valjean is in fact a saint because he saved his life. Valjean does eventually confess that he is dying and decides to give Cosette a note, which tells her of his wounded, broken and dark past. Even though Valjean dies, he accepts it and dies in peace and comfort due to being with both Cosette and Marius.

Valjean is the kind of character that teaches you how you can raise above your background and that you can become a better person. Valjean lives through the example set by the bishop throughout his life. Valjean represents injustice that convicts fact once released. Valjean does seem like the kind of person that isn’t capable to change, but through the act of one person, Valjean truly learned the importance of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. Valjean learned about love through the child, Cosette, and it is very hard for him to let her go. Not only does Valjean represent injustice, but he also represents change. He once was filled with so much hate, bitterness, and anger, but he learned to become compassionate, forgiving, kind, good, and even saintlike. He helped save Fantine (even though he couldn’t save her life), Cosette, and Marius.

Tomorrow is Javert.

Analysis of Les Mis Characters

I did this once on my blog already. I analyzed the principal Les Mis characters, but they felt more like plot summaries than actual analysis’. For the next couple of days, I will analyze the characters of Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, and Enjolras/Gavroche/the students. Les Mis is just that kind of musical that is hard to pick a favorite character and where you learn to care about all the characters including ones you don’t like.