Sexual Desire Vs. Religion In 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses'

analytical Essay
1153 words
1153 words

Sexual Desire vs. Religion: A Close Look at Letter 128 Choderlos de Laclos’s epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses is a complex novel filled with morally unsound characters. Even the more innocent characters, such as Cécile de Volanges, The Chevalier Danceny, and the chaste Madame de Tourvel, lose their sense of morality when they become pawns in Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont’s game of sexual domination and ruin. Several interesting relationships begin between the innocent and sadistic characters, but none of these relationships are as important as the one between Tourvel and Valmont.
The reason this pairing is so important is because, unlike Merteuil and Valmont, they initially appear to not have much in common. …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how choderlos de laclos's epistolary novel les liaisons dangereuses is a complex novel filled with morally unsound characters.
  • Analyzes how valmont's main goal is to ruin tourvel to show that sexual desire is more powerful than religion.
  • Analyzes how tourvel's reaction to this event is found in letter 128, which she sends to madame de rosemonde.
  • Analyzes how tourvel and valmont are not as different as they initially seem to be.
  • Analyzes how laclos argues that it is morally wrong to fall victim to sexual desire by writing valmont as a libertine.
  • Analyzes how laclos suggests that tourvel's feelings for valmont are genuine, but that she needs him to accept that he has genuine feelings too.
  • Analyzes how laclos reaffirms that religion is greater than sexual freedom if both characters become influenced by the opposite passion.
  • Analyzes how the relationship between valmont and tourvel changes throughout the novel. there is initially ambiguity as to whether sexual desire or religion is the greater good.

By writing Valmont as a libertine and having Tourvel succumb to sexual passion, Laclos seems to argue that sexual desire is a stronger desire than remaining devout. Even if this is true, Laclos also seems to suggest that it is morally wrong to fall victim to sexual desire. This is evident when Tourvel writes, “As long as my life is necessary for his happiness, I shall treasure it and consider myself a lucky woman. If some day he has other views, he will never hear a word of protest or blame from me. I have already faced up to this possibility and made my decision” (288). This is the most important statement in the letter because it proves that Tourvel has some doubt to the longevity of her relationship, and she accepts the price she will have to pay for falling victim to her sexual desire. This thought is reemphasized when Tourvel writes, "You can now see how I am bound to be unaffected by the fear . . . that Valmont may ruin me” (288). It is almost as if Laclos reemphasizes her acquiescence to show that Tourvel doesn’t mind that she has ruined herself as long as she can act on her desire to love Valmont, even if that love is fated to end and she has to forsake her religious

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