Essay about Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo: Impact of the Marginal Character

The impact of the Marginal Character“Every man has three characters – that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has” – (Alphonse Karr).Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables takes place during the tumultuous time of the French Revolution. A period of radical, social, and political upheaval in France, a time when one’s true character is revealed. “French society underwent an epic transformation as religious, feudal, and aristocratic privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy succumbed to new enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights” (World News). People of the 1700s lived through the storming of the Bastille, multiple constitutions, and changes in the role of women, the system of government, and the hierarchy of the Estates- General. The French Revolution became a symbol of change, of ideals, a mark on history. Through deeper explication of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the intersections of the ideals of society, government, class, religion, and individuality, extremely prevalent throughout the French revolution, clearly manifest themselves in the actions of the marginal characters often overlooked. Through his setting and minor characters, Mademoiselle Baptistine, Madame Magloire, the Bishop, and Javert, Hugo clearly expresses his beliefs on the interaction of ideals in one’s life and the resulting effect on one’s character.Accordingly, Mademoiselle Baptistine, as a marginal character, is often overlooked, but if deeper explicated, she proves to unmistakably represent the intersection of the ideals of society, religion, and individuality so ubiquitous in Victor Hugo’s novel Les …

…] implacable duty [to be] absorbed in the police, [as] a pitiless detective, his whole life contained in these two words: waking and watching” (Hugo 55). All as a result of his unwanted heritage as a criminal’s son, Javert devotes his life to justice, discipline, and order as a path to redemption from his deprived class, Javert views rooting out the unjust in the world as the divine act that can save him from his misfortune.Throughout Hugo’s Les Miserables, intersections are prevalent between society, class, religion, government, and the individual.

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Works Cited”Alphonse Karr Quotes – BrainyQuote.” Famous Quotes at BrainyQuote. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. .

“Category:1794 Events Of The French Revolution.” World News. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. .


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