Manon Lescaut

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  • Topic: Manon Lescaut, Novel, Antoine François Prévost
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  • Published : December 11, 2006
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The Image of Woman in the French Novel

Manon Lescaut: The Unattainable Woman
The novel Manon Lescaut, written by Abbe Prevost in 1731, is the story of la Chevalier Des Grieux and his lover Manon Lescaut. Des Grieux comes from a noble and wealthy family, but runs away from his family to be with Manon. By doing so Des Grieux forfeits his wealth and approval of his father. Des Grieux and Manon move to Paris to live a long lasting loving relationship, but Des Grieux struggles to support Manon's fascination with living luxurious. It is because of Manon's lifestyle that she becomes unattainable for Des Grieux and betrays him on numerous occasions.

Manon and Des Grieux are first and foremost from drastic ends of the social class. Des Grieux is the youngest son of a noble family, while Manon is very poor and the only family she has is a gangsterish brother. This distinction alone made it very unlikely that they could live the same lifestyle. However, Manon is fascinated by living luxuriously, which forces Des Greiux to borrow money from his good friend Tiberge and to cheat gamblers in card games. When the money dries up Manon for different reasons, such as theft and a house fire, Manon up and leaves Des Grieux without hesitation for richer men. To make matter worse she didn't confront Des Grieux face to face when she left him, but by a letter which read "Do you really think we can love each other with nothing to eat?I love you, do believe me, but try to leave our affairs in my hands for a little while". But, because of his undying love for Manon, Des Greiux would seek her out and completely forgive her.

The most telling account of Manon's character and being the unattainable woman is evidenced by her scheme for the prince G. M. It had been known that G. M. had fallen for Manon and planned to move her into an expensive house with plenty of gifts and 10,000 francs. Manon told Des Grieux that she had no feelings for G. M. and was going to take the money and...
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