Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Furthermore, in letter 33 Merteuil writes of her epistolary technique of narrative organization. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. By underlining this through ironic contrast, Laclos would seem to be emphasizing the grave consequences which can come of libertinage which is not restrained by society; the acts of manipulation and destruction which Merteuil and Valmont selfishly enter into must be controlled, and the lack of this control, caused partly by the ignorance of the helpless victims, will undoubtedly lead to violence and death. (Benediction Books, 2010), Articles GRESHOFF, C.J. Choderlos De Laclos.
For the letter to succeed in convincing the victim, the author must appear to be out of control, engaged in a passionate struggle which comes across as the apparent lack of control in language. Another ambiguity in Laclos’ use of language is his ironic portrayal of courtly love. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Get tips and ideas in OUTLINE. This subtle and complex example of Laclos’ œuvre ambiguë seeks to assert the idea of certain characters, such as Merteuil, having a privileged point of view above others, with the reader remaining the most well informed. In turn, it is difficult for the reader to discern whether Laclos’ aim was for Tourvel to be seen as an embodiment of virtue and victim of evil, or a woman for whom her lack of worldliness and intellect led to her own unfortunate demise. ‘Je puis dire que je suis mon ouvrage’, this shows that she is an artificial creation and has replaced what is natural; emotion, with pure intellect and rationality.
Laclos provides us with no means of knowing his libertines’ emotions, of deciding whether or not they are jealous or in love. Les Liaisons dangereuses (The Dangerous Liaisons) is a French epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, first published in four volumes in 1782. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. It is the way in which Valmont convinces la Présidente of his love that further demonstrates the ambiguity of the novel and each character’s ability to write for the interpretation of another, as Valmont’s letters to Merteuil differ greatly from the religious imagery he adopts towards Tourvel. Liaisons immediately becomes a critique of the aristocratic society of the time when the libertines’ superior awareness is not used to enlighten their own minds but to control others. What is clear, however, is that Laclos wrote a novel critiquing the aristocratic society of the time. Indeed, this stylization of love had grown out of the necessity to control the primitive feelings of lust and passion. She consciously abandoned love and sentimentality because she believed it not only too risky, but also often an illusion.
It is this ‘secret charm’ of hidden sentiments and witty repartee between “immoral” characters that entices the reader into the intimate world of the scheming aristocracy, where the letter is the ultimate weapon in revealing one’s intentions through what remains hidden. Indeed, this stylization of love had grown out of the necessity to control the primitive feelings of lust and passion. In terms of morality, although there is a clear difference between the amoral libertines and the virtuous Mme de Tourvel, we are left questioning Cécile’s moral stance. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. In this way, the ending is one final ironic attack on society’s values. (Yale University Press, 1968) SCULLEY HUDON, E. Love and Myth in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. A summary of Part X (Section8) in Pierre Ambroise Laclos's Dangerous Liaisons. The Moral Structure of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. (Princeton, N. J. ; Guildford: Princeton University Press, 1984) ROSBOTTOM, R.C. They seek not to educate Cécile and enlighten her to the ways of adult life, but to make her dependent and ignorant. The letter Valmont writes to Madame de Tourvel, while using the courtesan Emilie’s naked body as a writing desk, is the most obvious example of a masterpiece of sustained ambiguity. These questions arise partly from the ambiguities in the novel, namely regarding its moral stance, its position on libertine intelligence and also on society, as well as the ambiguities in language and the epistolary form. This is the mind which she uses to manipulate others and to gain power for herself; the fact her intelligence is retained certainly suggests glorification of libertinage. However, the ambiguities are so numerous that it would seem Laclos is inviting the reader to become involved in these questions, and that the author is leaving so much shrouded in doubt in order to make the reader think about their own position in the fight between vice and virtue.
“Born to avenge my sex and to master yours,” what a woman! Thus, Laclos consistently exposes the errors of such complacency and simplicity of thought in society, and certainly denounces it a great deal more than the duplicity of the libertines.
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