Summary of Les Misérables HugoThe novel “Les Misérables” is one of the most famous works of the titan of French literature, Victor Hugo. Archetypal images of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, Cosette, Fantine, Gavroche have become integral parts of the world cultural heritage.
Despite the fact that Les Misérables was published a century and a half ago, in 1862, interest in the work does not subside. The novel successfully survives regular publications and generates new works of art. In particular, thirteen adaptations were made based on the novel. One of the first screen versions delighted the public in 1913. It was a four-episode silent film produced in France. It was created by the then popular director Albert Capellani.
The last film version of the cult work was released in 2012. The musical was directed by Tom Hooper. Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantina), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) and others took part in the project.
Let’s remember the plot of this great epic about people who were once rejected by life and forever bound by fate.
Mercy Healing: Bishop Miriel
France. 1815. Former convict Jean Valjean is released after nineteen years in prison. Exactly this many years ago, he stole a loaf of bread for his widowed sister Jeanne and her seven children. Valjean was sentenced to four years of hard labor, and for repeated attempts to escape, twelve more years of imprisonment were added.
Healed with mercy He spent almost two decades in the company of notorious criminals, and changed his name to number 24601. Now Valjean is free, but the so-called “yellow passport”, which is issued to all former convicts, prevents him from starting a new life. He is driven from everywhere, despised everywhere. He is an outcast. Valjean has only one way out – to enter the dark path of crime, which is the only one open to him.
Fate brings Valjean to the town of Digne. After vain attempts to get at least somewhere for the night, he comes to the house of the local bishop Miriel. Surprisingly, the dignitary treats the suspicious stranger very cordially, treats him to dinner and orders the traveler to be placed in one of the guest rooms. The habits of the underworld takeover, and despite the hospitality of the owner, Valjean cannot resist the theft of silver candlesticks. First, he wants to kill the bishop himself, but at the last moment, an unknown force stops the attacker and he flees the scene of the crime.
The next day, a man in beggarly clothes with stolen silver candlesticks is apprehended and brought before Miriel. Now Valjean regrets that he showed weakness and did not kill the main witness – now the priest will give evidence that will send him to hard labor until the end of his days. What was Valjean’s surprise when Miriel brought out two more candlesticks, telling the guards that his guest had forgotten them in a hurry, who, by an absurd accident, was arrested.
Start over again
When Valjean and Miriel are alone, the bishop calls on the man to start a new life. May this start-up capital in the form of candlesticks help him become a man again.
Valjean, who until now has seen only evil, betrayal, injustice, greed, at first cannot understand such a disinterested manifestation of mercy. According to an old habit, he catches the boy on the street and takes his money. Coming out of his stupor, Valjean suddenly realizes that he was given a chance, which falls to a rare stumbler. He will use the gift of the bishop for good and begin a new life.
Frenemies: Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert
Frenemies Three years later. Town of Montreil. Previously, this place was practically no different from those miserable French cities in which poverty and unemployment reign. But one day a wealthy philanthropist appeared in the city, who built a factory for the production of artificial jets. Montreil changed before our eyes, its inhabitants began to work and glorify their benefactor Uncle Madeleine, that was the name of the mysterious philanthropist. Despite his wealth, he was fair. Kindness and modesty, so the residents unanimously elected him mayor of Montreil.
Only one person disliked Madeleine – Inspector Javert. Fanatically devoted to his work, Javert strictly followed the letter of the law. He did not recognize halftones – only black and white. Once a stumbled person can no longer be justified in the eyes of the inspector. The law is immutable and indestructible.
The bloodhound has long been searching for the former convict Jean Valjean, who robbed a boy on the street three years ago. Cunning Javert forces Madeleine to publicly admit that he is the same Jean Valjean. The former mayor is immediately cited for life imprisonment in the Toulon galleys. Risking his life, Valjean escapes from the ship that was transporting the prisoners. The risk was worth it, because he still had one unfulfilled promise.
Lost Life: The Story of Fantine
A Lost Life A beautiful girl named Fantine worked in the Montreal factory. Inexperienced and trusting, she innocently fell in love with Felix Tolomen. The poor thing did not even suspect that a handsome rake from a rich family would never marry a commoner. Soon Fantine gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, she named her charming baby Cosette. The girl was forced to give the baby upbringing to the innkeepers Thenardier, the mother sent all the money she earned to her daughter, not even suspecting that the baby did not get anything.
When the factory found out about Fantine’s illegitimate child, she was immediately fired. A woman finds herself on the street without a livelihood and a roof over her head. Worried about the well-being of her daughter, Fantine decides on desperate deeds – she sells her luxurious hair and snow-white teeth, and then becomes a prostitute.
All this time, Valjean – the owner of the very factory where Fantine worked – is in the dark about the fate of his ward. He meets Fantine much later, when she dies of tuberculosis – withered, broken, fallen. Valjean curses himself for his fatal negligence. He will no longer be able to help Fantine – her life is hopelessly ruined – however, it is still possible to arrange the happiness of little Cosette. Valjean swears to the dying Fantine that he will not abandon her daughter. This was the promise for which Jean Valjean survived and escaped from the ship of convicts.
Beam of light in the realm of darkness: the story of Cosette
Ray of light in the realm of darknessFugitive convict Jean Valjean cannot adopt Cosette. He steals the girl from the vile Thenardiers and goes on the run with her. Fortunately, Valjean managed to save a considerable fortune from the time when he was the owner of the factory. Money decides a lot, and Valjean starts a new life again. He arranges for Cosette in a monastery boarding school and is called her father. Thus begins a quiet family life of two outcasts who accidentally found each other.
Years have passed. Little Cosette has turned into a beautiful girl. And soon, along with tender daughter love, a new unknown feeling for a young man named Marius Pontmercy is born in Cosette’s heart. Having once met during a walk in the garden, Cosette and Marius could no longer forget each other. However, on the way to joint happiness, the lovers had to overcome many obstacles – a revolutionary uprising, Valjean’s paternal jealousy, the persecution of Inspector Javert, who, even years later, did not forget about his sworn enemy Jean Valjean.
This time, fate is favorable to the heroes – Marius miraculously survives during an armed confrontation in Paris, Valjean realizes that his daughter has grown up and has the right to personal happiness, and Javert releases Valjean when he was in his arms. The convinced fanatic could not survive the collapse of his ideals, his harmonious system cracked, and the law turned out to be not as fair as he thought. Javert commits suicide by throwing himself off a bridge.
We invite you to get acquainted with the biography of Victor Hugo, a French writer, whose work has gained many admirers and through which the rich inner world of the playwright opens up to us.
Victor Hugo’s next famous work is Notre Dame Cathedral, a historical novel about an extraordinary man whose appearance frightened everyone, but his true beauty was hidden deep inside.
Jean Valjean lives out his last days in mournful loneliness. He was slandered in the eyes of Marius, called a convict, a bandit, a criminal. In order not to hurt Cosette, Valjean leaves her life. By a fatal accident, the old Thenardier, who ruined Cosette’s childhood, reveals the truth. Cosette and Marius rush to Valjean to ask for forgiveness and find him dying. Bursting into tears, the daughter begs her father to forgive her. There is nothing to forgive – Valjean is happy. He dies with a calm heart and a smile on his lips.