Javert: a Man with a Mission

Topics: Les Misérables, Victor Hugo, Criminal justice Pages: 2 (597 words) Published: April 8, 2011
Javert: A Man with a Mission

Many times in life, people start to wholeheartedly follow a goal. They focus solely on the goal, abandoning all reason and logic. Javert was one of these people. In Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, Javert was a police inspector who believed in absolutes. Consequently, for him, nothing could be both right and wrong; things were either completely good or completely bad. This attitude helped form his goal of life: to follow the law obediently and punish all criminals. Javert’s commitment to his goal led to his cruel hunt of Jean Valjean and his later suicide. His obsession with his goal also had an extensive influence on the theme of the novel. Javert’s goal thus shaped Hugo’s Les Misérables in both plot and meaning. Javert’s narrow-sighted goal compelled him to hound Valjean. His firm belief in absolutes caused his eyes to see only a criminal in Valjean. Therefore, Javert was unable to comprehend Valjean’s true soft, affectionate nature, which was hidden behind his hardened, criminal exterior. The inspector’s desire to capture all criminals urged him to follow Valjean and punish him for his crime. If Javert had not been obsessed with his goal, he would have seen that Valjean did not deserve to die as a criminal; he deserved to live like a free man. However, Javert’s unyielding goal continued to drive his actions. Since his goal did not allow him to see a difference between a compassionate and a cruel criminal, Javert continued to hunt Valjean mercilessly. This chase just increased Javert’s stubborn obsession with his goal, which ironically caused his downfall. When the criminal whom Javert had been hunting for years saved his life by rescuing him from the revolutionaries, Javert was baffled. The entire foundation of his goal was demolished, for his goal was based on the idea that all criminals are bad people. Thus, Javert was thus trapped in a complicated situation. He could not free Valjean, for that would directly conflict with...
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