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    Les Miserables, Theme (Forgiveness, Self Sacrifice Essay

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    , and Courage)

    It is precisely of him that I wished to speak. Dispose of me as you please; but help me first to carry him home. I only ask that of you. Upon examination of Les Miserables, it is clearly evident that the elements of Forgiveness, Self Sacrifice, and Courage are only a few of the main themes Hugo wanted to develop.

    First off, is the element of forgiveness.

    In a book of mistrust, poverty, and hateforgiveness thrives in the world of Les Miserables. The first example of this was at the very beginning, when Jean Valjean stayed with the bishop. Valjean stole his silverand ran off. He ends up being caught by police, but when the police questioned the bishop, he claimed to have given the silver to Valjean. Jean was confusedand the bishop claimed that with the silver, he had purchased the convicts soul, and had given it to God, and from that day forward, Valjean must be a good man. Another example of forgiveness goes two ways.

    Javert, in his relentless pursuit of Valjean, is captured by revolutionaries. In reward for saving the lives of a few of these revolutionaries, Valjean asks for, and gets, permission to take Javert outside, and kill him. Once outside, a small monologue occursand Valjean releases Javert, and lets him go free. Valjean just wanted to be left alone in peace, and hoped this act of kindness would change Javert, and make him realize that Valjean was no longer the man he was. The second wayis that in the end, after Javert finally captures Valjean, he lets him go. Since Javert had broken the law that he loved so dearly, he kills himself shortly thereafter, by jumping into a river.

    Secondly, we come to the element of Self-Sacrifice. This is also another widely used theme in Les Miserables. One such example of this element is with Valjean. He lets Marius and Cosette marry, and for a while, he seems all right with that fact. Later on however, he goes to Marius, and confesses to his past. He tells Marius his whole story, and thinks it best if he never sees Cosette again.

    Marius agreesbut allows Valjean the occasional visit. Only at the end, does Marius realize what a good man Valjean isand by then it was too late. Valjean dies shortly after Marius and Cosette visit him to ask him to come back and live with them. Another example would be that of Gavroche and his supreme sacrifice. Gavroche is really Thenardiers son. but he was thrown out as a little boy, because he wasnt bringing in any money.

    So Gavroche befriends the revolutionaries. During one of the battles, Gavroche goes out to pick the pockets of the dead soldiers for ammunition. The soldiers fighting the revolutionaries immediately open firebut cant hit Gavroche. Thinking he is invincible, he begins to mock the soldiers aim. But, he speaks too soon, and on his way back, he is shot in the back, and dies. And lastly, we have the sacrifice of Eponineone of the daughters of Thenardier.

    She is in love with Mariusunbeknownst to him. She follows him to the barricades, and while there, saves his life. She put her hand in front of a barrel aimed for Marius, and the bullet went through her hand, and into her body. Of course, this act moves Marius greatly. Eponine admits her love to him, and tells him everything she knows. Before she dies in his arms, she asks him to kiss her on the forehead when she passes onand she says she would feel it.

    Marius grants her wish.

    And finally, we reach the element of Courage. The main kind of courage that will be covered is emotional and physical. The first example is when Valjean must enter Paris by climbing the wall that surrounds the great city. Normally, this would be hard enough for anyone. Valjean however, has one more problem added to this; he has Cosette with him, and she is still a small child.

    Once he finally reaches the top, and Cosette joins him, they must jump from roof to roof to reach safety. They finally end up .

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