Review of Les Mis

Just yesterday, I saw Les Mis in Greenville with Gardner Webb. It was my 5th time seeing it live and my 2nd time with a professional cast. With this production of Les Mis, I saw the 25th anniversary production. I had an understudy in this performance for Eponine, which was coincidental since last time I saw Les Mis, I had an understudy for Jean Valjean. I sat in the balcony towards the middle, which were impressive seats even though at first I didn’t know how much I would see since we were so high up, but still being up that high allowed me to see the entire stage.

Possible Spoilers on both plot and staging.

Leading the cast was Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean. He was such an impressive Jean Valjean. His version of “Bring Him Home” was so beautiful and sounded like a prayer and was quiet enough for what the scene required. He was warm and gentle around Cosette. It is amazing how his voice still had enough power when he was quiet during “Bring Him Home”. Then once again, he was quiet enough during his death scene. That is saying something because I was sitting in the balcony and I could still hear him even in quieter moments. During the scene where he let Javert go, he was able to act it to show that he forgave Javert.

Josh Davis was Javert and I felt like he had the right voice for Javert, but something felt off. He did a wonderful job during “Stars”. I had a hard time having an emotional connection to Javert. It is very hard to find common ground with Javert. I just do not know what it was, but something was off so he was weaker compared to Jean Valjean so part of their dynamic was off. Even though something felt way off in Javert, this production showed that Javert does have heart, which was shown when he saw the body of Gavroche when he went back to the barricades.

Melissa Mitchell was Fantine. She played Fantine as a naive young woman as opposed to a very desperate one. She played her naivety in a way that showed she was quite naive when she first became a prostitute because she did not quite understand that job at all at first even though she was fighting for the life of her daughter. She was so quiet in her death scene, but was still able to project to the balcony. It is heartbreaking that she is still thinking about her daughter during her death, but acted like she was thankful that Jean Valjean will be raising her daughter.

Sophie Knapp was such a wonderful Young Cosette. She has such a beautiful voice, which was clearly shown during “Castle on a Cloud”. She was small enough to look like she was eight at the time. She acted a bit nervous and scared around Madame Thenardier. Her “Castle on a Cloud” shows that she has hope that she will be rescued. She was quite a broken child.

Allision Guann as Madame Thenardier and J. Anthony Crane as Thenardier combined were hilarious like they needed to be. Allision Guann was able to be mean enough around Cosette and acted like she actually love her daughter, Eponine at the time. The Thenardiers’ version of “Master of the House” was quite hilarious and during the Bargain, the funny thing was the audience knew they were lying, which made it funny. Even during “Beggars at the Feast”, they were hilarious.

On to the youthful love triangle between Eponine, Marius and Cosette. This was such an innocent and youthful love triangle. Talia Simone Robinson as Eponine was an understudy and she was able to embody Eponine. During all of the Paris bits, she was very playful and flirty around Marius, but she still was able to express her heartbreak that he will never love her. “On My Own” was heartbreaking and at the end, I could hear tears coming from her, but she decides to continue to love Marius despite the unrequited love. “On My Own” demonstrates Eponine’s miserable and empty life and shows her strength and heartbreak over the unrequited love.

Jillian Butler as Cosette had such a beautiful soprano voice during both “In My Life” and “A Heart Full of Love”. Joshua Grosso as Marius was quite awkward during act I especially during “A Heart Full of Love”. It made the couple so cute and wonderful during that scene. When Marius first bumps into Cosette in Paris with Eponine standing in the back wasn’t fully effective, but feeling for all three was the most effective during “Heart Full of Love”. So I loved seeing the awkwardness during “A Heart Full of Love” and it was shown in a way that is like I am in love, but I don’t know what to do with it. This two were such a cute couple and I learned to love the two characters more.

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About Marius and Eponine, their version of “A Little Fall of Rain” was so believable. I really believed that Eponine was shot due to some of her non-verbals and noticing that it took effort to move since she was getting weaker as the song continued and she was also quiet enough. Joshua Grosso wasn’t heartbroken during the entire performance because he was comforting towards her and brave towards her. But when he ends the song with “grow”, that voice was so heartbreaking. It took him some time till he could say the word since he was quite stunned that Eponine died.

Joshua’s version of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was heartbreaking. Even during “Drink with Me”, when he sings about Cosette, it makes sense because he just lost Eponine and knows that most likely all of his friends will die and knows that if he survives, that he will only have Cosette.

Wow, Matt Shingledecker as Enjolras was such a passionate Enjolras. He brought out the intensity and passion that the character needed. All of the students were able to express their hope towards the rebellion. They also were able to show their passion towards the cause. Julian Emile Lerner was such a wonderful Gavroche. Even though he was just a boy, he keeps an eye on Paris and acts as if he runs the city. Despite being young, he had passion towards the cause as well.

About the ensemble, they were just so impressive. Their version of “One Day More” was so powerful and epic. Even in epic scenes like the opening or the second “Look Down”, there was the epicness that the songs required.

Wow, about the staging, I saw different staging than the West End. Even though the revolve wasn’t there, I still loved this staging. There was more color in this set. The different set pieces moved so smoothly between scenes. Like during “Paris/Look Down”, as the song continued, different areas opened up to show the scope of Paris. The paintings in the back actually moved some throughout the show. Those paintings gave a piece of Hugo in the show. The staging during the sewers showed how massive the sewers are and Valjean carried Marius in different ways. The staging during “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” adds even more emotion than the actor alone could do. During “Turning”, the women put candles down and then Marius comes out to sing the song and the students come out and pick up the candles and eventually blowing them out, which was a heartbreaking thing to watch.

About the sound system, the orchestra was so incredible. I could tell from the prologue that I would love the orchestra and they kept it together throughout the entire show. The sound system was incredible especially at the barricade. You could hear gunshots hit the back of the theatre so it felt like you were at the barricade.

So I would rate this production a 5/5 even though there were some actors that could have needed improvement such as Javert. But all in all, I loved this cast a lot, love the staging so much. Still such a beautiful story. To be honest, a more advanced staging gave more complexity to Les Mis. It was so good that I was an emotional wreck and that I ended up speechless.

Tomorrow, I plan to compare all three productions I have seen.

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Analysis of the Finale (Do You Hear the People Sing Reprise)

During the past two days, I have been working on a watercolor art project with my dad. It was inspired 100% by me and I knew I wanted it to be Les Mis themed and I actually did do about 95% of the work when painting. I found the picture in a page to screen Les Mis book that I had. It was hard to figure out how to create a gigantic crowd of people. In the case of the barricade, it took a while till it actually looked like a barricade. We first drew the buildings and the barricade in pencil and then inked on top and then painted them in. In the case of the barricade, it hardly looked like a barricade before it was painted. But as several kinds of brown were painted in, it finally was noticed as a barricade. This picture is from the finale of Les Mis in the movie of the musical.

Spoiler Alert:

To love another person is to see the face of God

Do you hear the people sing lost in the valley of the night. It is the music of the people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will raise. They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough share. They will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade who be strong and stand with me. Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?. Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums? It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes…” ” tomorrow comes

-Finale, Les Mis

fullsizeoutput_705This scene happens at the end of Les Mis. A few scenes back, Jean Valjean was dying and he died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in law, by his side. The spirit of Fantine appeared thanking him for raising Cosette. Marius thanked Valjean for saving his life at the barricade and seeing her adopted father die, Cosette was quite devastated.

The sad part is that Jean Valjean died on the night of Cosette’s wedding and by the end, Cosette and Marius have lost everyone that meant something to them expect for each other. Once Valjean dies, the spirit of Fantine escorts him to heaven and at the entrance the bishop welcomes him. Valjean lived his entire life through the example the bishop showed him. That is why he agreed to raise Cosette, why he turned himself in when an innocent man was believed to be Valjean, why he was able to forgive Javert and why he went to the barricades to rescue Marius. All of Valjean’s actions makes his redemption feel so strong in the end.

The song, “Do You Hear the People Sing” appears twice in the show. The first time it is shown as a revolutionary anthem of hope sung by all the students. But when sung a second time, the song is still hopeful, but in my opinion represents heaven. All of the people who died during the uprising reappear as spirits and so does Fantine. The ending is one of the biggest reasons why Les Mis makes you feel uplifted. Valjean’s redemption is so strong at the end and he is welcomed into the kingdom of God. The characters in Les Mis show hope, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness to others.

The students represent a hope for a better future for France. All of them sacrificed their lives for a love of France. Even Gavroche who is just a kid was heroic at the barricades even though he died as well. Both Fantine and Eponine showed love for the one they loved the most and sacrificed their happiness to protect the one that they loved. Fantine did everything she could for Cosette and Eponine protected Marius and did everything she could to make him happy. Even though the love for him was unrequited, she still sacrificed her life for him. In the movie version, Marius was about to get shot, but when Eponine noticed this, she got in the way and took the fatal shot herself. Even Valjean sacrificed his happiness for the sake of others. He loved Cosette so much that he was willing to go the barricade in order to protect Marius because Cosette loves him. Through all of these actions, it shows just how much Les Mis is inspirational and why it is ultimately about humanity.

As a matter of fact, Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjolras and the Students, and Valjean did not die alone. Fantine died knowing that Cosette was going to be in good hands since Valjean was by her side and promised that he would raise Cosette as his own. Eponine got to die in the arms of the man she loved and it actually was the happiest moment of her because she really lived a very empty life and felt unloved and she got to spend the last moments of her life in the arms of Marius. Gavroche, Enjolras and the students all died with each other.

The finale to Les Mis is one of the most powerful and one of the most perfect ways to end a musical. Right before the reprise begins, Valjean, the Bishop and Fantine all sing the famous lyrics, “to love another person is to see the face of God. Feeling uplifted during the reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing” makes you realize that feeling all of the misery and heartbreak was so worth it.

My Strong Love for Musicals and Christian Music

I am so thankful for my deep love for Christian music and musicals. Because without them, I do not know where I would be right now. They truly taught me the power of music. Christian music did teach me that music can bring back memories and can make you feel connected to God. A lot of the Christian songs that I love remind me of the different memories I had at Kanuga. Part of the Kanuga songs remind me of Parish weekends and while the rest are more for Winterlight.

The lyrics below are from a Christian song I learned to love at Kanuga. It is called “The Servant Song” and it reminds me of Kanuga each time I listen to it, but it also reminds me of the Bristol Pilgrimage that I went on two years ago. I sing contemporary Christian music every week at school at our student-led worship service.

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Motto of the trip

On the other hand, musicals really did teach me the emotional impact of music especially considering the shows that are still so new and fresh in my life. Every single musical has more than one emotion in it. Some have a few and while some have a lot. The five emotions that tie musicals together are excitement, joy, love, heartbreak and sadness, which are five of the most common emotions found in them. I grew up with comedies and happy musicals. I grew up with musicals like Annie, Sound of Music, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Grease, Aladdin and Wicked.

Wicked is the musical where I first started to understand the emotional side of musicals. That was back in 2006 when I first saw it on Broadway with my mom. I was only 12 at the time and I do remember “Popular” being my favorite song. This was the only show that I grew up with where I actually remember sad being part of. The main emotions growing up were basically excitement, love, joy, and sad. Heartbreak wasn’t there because I didn’t understand what it meant for a song to be heartbreaking. “I’m Not That Girl” was just a sad song and I strongly disliked “No Good Deed” at the time.

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Even though I learned to love two sad musicals, I found a way to still describe all musicals as joyful and I did that by describing them in the best positive way I can. Those two sad musicals are Les Mis and Rent. I fell in love with Rent by listening to the songs though Pandora and I fell in love with it first, but didn’t realize it was sad until after I had already seen the Les Mis movie. I was able to realize that they both have a positive nature. Rent is really a story about what to do with the life that you have and how do you measure it. It teaches you to live in the moment and measure your life in love and it really is a celebration of life. Les Mis is really a story about hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity and redemption.  Without Les Mis, I may never have actually understood what it means for a musical song to be heartbreaking.

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Other emotions I found in musicals are hope, love, anger, compassion, haunting, uplifting, loneliness, guilt, desperation, devastation, depressing, fear and uncomfortable. I still cannot believe that musicals range from being very happy all the way down to very sad, which is more layers than one might find. Annie would be a very happy show even though it has one sad song in it, which is “Maybe”, but that song isn’t that sad at all. Annie is very happy because it is pretty much all joy from start to finish and barely has any conflict. On the other side, Les Mis would be very sad. Musicals are like a series of ladders overlapping each other with each ladder representing something different.

There is a huge difference between the emotions within a show compared to whether a show is happy or not. Musicals have come such a long way since shows like Annie and Sound of Music which are both very happy and simple and those two do not have that many emotions in it at all. Eventually they built up to a show like Les Mis, which is a lot more powerful and filled with this incredible wide range of emotions starting with uplifting building eventually to depressing. In the past I thought a song could not push past sad, but it sure did in Les Mis. I know deep down that musicals will continue to play games on me and change because I am still young and have yet to discover other new ones.

I don’t Doubt that I will stop loving Christian Music and musicals. I truly learned about the power of music through them. They taught me how music can bring back memories and the emotional impact that music can bring.

Hope for Humanity

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us

-Romans 8: 35, 37

This just shows that we can never be separated from the love of Christ! It shows that we will always be loved by Christ. Even when humanity is messed up or in times of hardship or darkness, we still can never be separated from Christ’s love for us. It shows that Christ is ultimately in control and that Satan is less powerful. Love is stronger than hate and is the best way to save humanity. Even in times of danger, we are still a part of Christ’s love. Even if anyone tries to be separated from this love, the love will still exist. Just knowing that we can never be separated from Christ’s love shows that there is still hope left int he world. It shows that humanity isn’t completely destroyed. We need to allow Christ in our life because without him, life wouldn’t be the same.

 

Victor Hugo and Les Misérables

If the radical is the idea, yes, I am a radical…A society which admits poverty, a religion which admits hell, a humanity which sanctions war, seem to me an inferior society, an inferior religion and humanity, and it towards the higher society, the higher humanity and religion that I turn: society without a king, humanity without frontiers, religion without a book…I condemn slavery, I banish poverty, I teach ignorance, I treat disease, I lighten the night, and I hate hatred. That is what I am, and that is why I have written Les Misérables

-Victor Hugo

This a quote written by Victor Hugo, the author of the masterpieces, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables. This quote explains why Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables. Victor Hugo lived during a very rough time period in France. It was post French Revolution and France was still recovering from the aftermath. Multiple rebellions happened, a weak government existed, women weren’t being treated fairly, and misery seemed to exist all the time. Victor Hugo noticed all of this and his book helps show just how bad France was at the time. Much of his book is based off of things that Victor Hugo observed and some characters were created off of that.

He wrote Les Mis to show light in the midst of darkness. That book is a tragedy covered with darkness but with a beautiful spirituality that helps guide the book. The heartbreaking and the inspirational natures are wonderfully interlocked together. Victor Hugo based Fantine after a prostitute he saw being harassed by an abusive customer and he intervened to prevent her from being arrested and he began to wonder if she had a child and that was how he created Fantine. He observed part of the June Rebellion of 1832 and he  included the rebellion in the book. His book shows the worst and the best of society at the time period.

The Thenardiers represent the very worst of society because of how abusive, unloving, cruel, selfish, and greedy they were and there was no redeeming factor in them. They treated their five children unfairly. Their children were Eponine, Azelma, Gavroche, and two unnamed younger brothers. They raised Eponine and Azelma and kicked out the rest of their children. They terribly abused Young Cosette during the time she lived with them, but she was rescued by Jean Valjean. They raised their daughters, Eponine and Azelma to be criminals and taught them how to lie and to steal and to be cruel towards others. The abuse they used on Cosette was used on both Eponine and Azelma. I cannot imagine what must have been like for the Thenardiers’ daughters.

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Despite all of the abuse, Eponine was brave despite feeling neglected and lonely and she never knew what it felt to be loved by someone else. The only source of light in her life was Marius, but he could never be hers.

Cosette represents hope and light and was raised by a loving father. Eponine is not quite as greedy or selfish as her parents, but sometimes she does act in destructive ways due to jealously. I think it was important that Eponine was a Thenardier and she does raise above her upbringing in both the book and musical. Even though Eponine was killed at the barricades, her parents didn’t seem to care that both her and Gavroche didn’t survive the uprising.

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The Thenardiers do represent the very worst of humanity, but there are those that represent the very best of humanity. The bishop for instance represents that. The bishop gave Valjean a second chance in life. The bishop gave Valjean a place to sleep, food to eat and treated him with compassion and kindness. Even when Valjean stole the bishop’s silver, the bishop forgave Valjean and gave the silver to Vavljean as gift. Valjean lived by the bishop’s example throughout the rest of the book. He showed compassion towards the poor especially towards Fantine and rescued the broken Cosette from the hands of the evil Thenardiers. When a man was falsely accused of being Valjean, Valjean turned himself in and confessed his real identity. He rescued Marius at the barricade for the sake of his daughter.

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Les Mis represents humanity as a whole and is truly about the survival of the human spirit. Victor Hugo knew that as long as poverty, ignorance, and misery exist, his book will always be relevant. The musical stays very faithful to the book despite some differences in the characters. For instance, Eponine and Marius are only just acquaintances in the book, but in the musical they are portrayed as friends. Les Mis is still universal because poverty,  misery and ignorance still exist, but at the same time, sacrifice, hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, and redemption still exist on the face of this earth. I understand the success of Les Mis. It is extremely powerful and filled with several emotions. It knows how to strongly emotionally connect you.

Heartbreak and Inspiration of Les Mis

A progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty; from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end

-Victor Hugo

Yes, Les Mis again

The quote above just shows the tale of Les Mis and how the main character’s journey progresses from beginning to end.

The musical, Les Misérables, is one of the most successful musicals of all time. The tile literally means the miserable and can even mean the downtrodden, the outcasts, and the fugitives. The title literally gives away the fact that Les Mis is indeed a very heartbreaking musical. The musical takes place during early 19th century France starting in 1815 and ending up in 1832.

It can be quite curious as to why such a heartbreaking musical is so successful. I do remember the first time I saw the movie, the moment I learned Les Mis was a tragedy, I was so confused and sort of lost. That time around, I saw the musical as too depressing. I didn’t know if I actually liked that movie or not when it finished. I didn’t know if I would give the movie a second chance or not.

Despite all the confusion, I still decided to research the musical and learn more about the book. I even started to listen to the songs more and discover more about them. After all of that, I did decide to watch the musical movie a second time. This time around, I truly knew there was something special about the musical. I was curious as to why so much heartbreak can actually make you feel uplifted in the end.

In Les Mis, it is important not to view the musical as just a heartbreaking musical because it is way more than that. True, most of the scenes are sad and heartbreaking, but those scenes are incredible scenes to watch as a matter of fact. The story is one of misery, heartbreaking, suffering and death, but also a story of love, compassion, hope, sacrifice, forgiveness, humanity and redemption. In a lot of ways, the inspirational side of Les Mis does exist throughout the heartbreaking nature.

The heartbreaking and the inspirational nature of this musical both show up in the prologue. The very first scene, the negative emotions enter the picture and up until the bishop scene, we see Valjean being treated poorly by society. No one is given him a place to stay, a job, or even something to eat all because he was an ex-convict. All of those scenes are heartbreaking and we can feel the injustice that Valjean faces. But enter the bishop and he offers Valjean a place to sleep and food to eat. But Valjean does still steal some silver from the bishop out of desperation and he is caught. He is surprised that the bishop actually lies and tells the police that he gave Valjean the silver has a gift and gives Valjean two candlesticks. Valjean uses the lesson that bishop taught him throughout the rest of this journey. The moment the heartbreaking and the inspirational natures clash together, the two are inseparable.

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Possible Spoilers:

You see inspiration through Valjean helping the poor once he becomes mayor. There is something inspirational about Valjean rescuing a man who has fallen under his cart. There is even inspiration when Valjean learns that a man was falsely accused of being him and Valjean turns himself in. But Valjean truly shows compassion towards Fantine, a former worker at Valjean’s factory, who turns to prostitution after being fired. Valjean promises to Fantine on her deathbed that he will raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. So there is compassion shown during death scenes.

Another death scene where compassion is shown is through Eponine’s death scene. She has just retuned to the barricades (different circumstance in the movie) and gets caught in the crossfire and gets shot and unfortunately her wounds are fatal. She loves Marius, a revolutionary on the barricade, unrequitedly. The moment she climbs over the barricade, Marius has no clue that she is terribly hurt. But after she collapses in his arms, Marius knows what is going on. He is truly devastated, but ultimately shows her compassion by never leaving her side. Even though he thinks it is too soon for her to leave, he still stays brave for her.

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There is something hopeful about the students standing up against the government. They are so passionate about their cause. Up until Eponine’s death, the students feel like there is a chance they will win. But after Eponine died, the students realized that they are way outnumbered and feel hopeless. But they still fight hoping that others will stand up for what they believe in. Valjean arrives shortly after Eponine died and he shows mercy and forgiveness towards Javert after he releases him from the barricades even though he promised the students he will execute Javert.

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If I never found a spiritual side to Les Mis, I feel like I would be kind of tired of the musical by now. I love feeling hurt and heartbroken in this musical because I strongly care about the characters and strongly love the plot and strongly love how the show makes you feel. You can feel hope, compassion, forgiveness, love, joy, excitement, uplifted, sad, heartbreak, guilt, loneliness, anger, hopeless, fear, desperation, devastation, depressed, and even uncomfortable and there are even more than that. To understand the success of Les Mis, you need to see beyond its heartbreaking nature.

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The reasons why I believe Les Mis is so successful because it has incredible and memorable characters, like the angered, harsh, hateful turned compassionate and saintlike Valjean, the strict and obsessive Javert, the loving and prostitute Fantine, the greedy, abusive and comical Thenardiers, the loving, brave, neglected and lonely Eponine, the revolutionary and romantic Marius, the kind and innocent Cosette, the passionate and hopeful, leader Enjolras, and the unloved and heroic Gavroche. In addition, I love the brilliance of the story, which is the tale of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict and his journey to redemption, which includes the love triangle of Eponine, Marius and Cosette, the student uprising (AKA June Rebellion of 1832), and the story of Fantine.

But ultimately, I think the biggest reason why Les Mis is so successful is due the emotional nature of the songs. They make you feel several emotions at such a deep level all the way to the deepest level of the Holy Spirit. This musical feel so realistic and feels like you can truly care about the characters. Even though it is heartbreaking, it has several topics found in Christianity like love, humanity, sacrifice,  compassion, forgiveness, hope, and redemption. Les Mis is the most powerful musical ever and its complexity changed my view on musicals and taught me the value of tragedy in the first place.

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Analysis of Jean Valjean (AKA 24601)

Major Spoilers:

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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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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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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.