Loving Sacrifices Illustrated in Victor Hugo’s Novel, Les Misérables

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Some people will do anything for those they love, no matter what the cost. In literature, this act of sacrifice is often exaggerated and glorified. Almost every novel contains some example of sacrifice, a giving up of something dear and precious without thought of material repayment. Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, is no exception. It is, in fact, full to overflowing of sacrifice between its different characters. Two such characters are Eponine and Jean Valjean, who each sacrifice an extraordinary amount to other characters. Eponine gave up just about everything she had, except the clothes on her back. One of Eponine’s major sacrifices was that of her slim chance of being loved by Marius, by giving him Cosette’s address. There was only one time when there was a slight chance that Marius might have turned to Eponine: during the time in which he was pining for Cosette. She ended his pining, though, by presenting him with the location of Cosette’s home, effectively eliminating her chances with Marius. Eponine sacrifices all of the happiness she might have had by having Marius love her back for the happiness that he would gain being in love with Cosette. She knew that he would be happier with Cosette than with her. At the barricade, Eponine saves Marius’ life, though at a very high price. Eponine makes the ultimate sacrifice for Marius: she dies after enduring pain from the wound that ought to have been his. With her death, Eponine ensures that Marius will live on, but forever ends her time with him. She had to choose between dying painfully, and living without him. The answer to her was obvious: save him the suffering. In Eponine’s death, one could see another sacrifice: the sacrifice of Marius. Eponine cared for Marius with e... ... middle of paper ... ...and Marius together, and saw how happy she was with him. So Jean put his own happiness aside for hers, and let her go to Marius, where she could be happy. He would be unhappy with her gone, but he could not bear making her unhappy by keeping her. For Cosette, the only thing he has ever loved, Jean Valjean was willing to sacrifice anything and everything. Eponine and Jean Valjean are two of the least self-concerned characters in Les Misérables. They sacrifice their happiness, the person they live for, and life itself. Yet they are happy. They are happy because they are making the person they love happy. They are happy as they are dying because they are dying for that beloved person, with that person at their sides. The loving sacrifices of these characters shape the whole story, and the lives of the people in it. If there were no sacrifice, there would be no story.

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