Character Analysis- Les Mis

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Character Analysis
In the novel, Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, the protagonist, Jean Valjean changes throughout the course of the novel from a contemptible, conniving ex-convict to an noble, compassionate, and heroic man. During his time in jail, Jean Valjean’s heart becomes corrupted; he realizes the world detests him for who he is. However, a bishop named Myriel shows him great kindness and compassion for him, which transforms him forever. In a small town, Montreuil-sur-mer, Valjean restores economic and social balance as well as love and adopt an orphan girl. Because of one man’s simple acts of veneration, Jean Valjean vows to commit his life to goodness and vindicates himself and proving that he has truly changed. In the beginning of the novel, Valjean emerges from prison as a hardened criminal who hates society; Myriel, however, forever changes Valjean’s character, as Myriel compels him to become an noble person, which leads Valjean to support a town in need. Myriel treats Valjean with kindness, and Valjean repays the bishop by stealing his silverware. When the bishop came to him, he said, “Do not forget, ever, that you have promised [him] to use this silver to become an honest man. Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of any such promise, stood dumbfounded. The bishop had stressed these words as he spoke them. He continued solemnly, 'Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good” (73).When the police arrest Valjean, Myriel covers for him, claiming that the silverware was a gift. The authorities release Valjean and Myriel makes him promise to become an honest man. Eager to fulfill his promise to his savior, Valjean masks his identity as Madeleine and brings the town of Montreuil-sur-mer prosperity and peace. Under a new identity, Cosette, a young orphan who was abused, is a flesh manifestation of Jean Valjean’s love and compassion. He realizes not only is he capable of loving someone, but passing on love to others....
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