Les Miserables, directed by Billie August Essay

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The epic movie Les Misérables, directed by Billie August, tells the tale of life and exploits of a man named Jean Valjean. Valjean was convicted of stealing food at young age, but after being released from prison and rising through the ranks to become the mayor of Vigo, he finds himself being constantly pursued by one of his ex-prison guards. This man, Javert, is determined to have Valjean locked up once again. During this intense struggle, it becomes easy to see that different people from this time period decide to follow the law in different ways. Throughout this film, Jean Valjean repeatedly chooses to abide by the spirit of the law, while his sworn enemy, Javert, mercilessly enforces the letter of the law. The spirit of the law and…show more content…
However, when dealing with the spirit of the law, it is up to the individual to personally decide what the law’s intention is and the most efficient way to maintain this goal without causing any inconvenience to the person and the people around him or her. These two different mindsets are similar in the sense that both are concerned with keeping people safe and making sure that society runs smoothly, even though the letter of the law tends to accomplish this goal in a much more strict and no-nonsense manner. In Les Misérables, Javert, the new police officer of Vigo, is the epitome of someone who chooses to live by the letter of the law. He spends most of his time dealing out harsh punishments to citizens without stopping to question whether or not his actions are right because he believes he is justified by the laws. Javert is extremely austere and always follows protocol no matter what the circumstance. Within the first five minutes of his arrival in Vigo, he has already reprimanded the Chief of Police for failing to review his papers, not because it is important, but because it is protocol. A perfect illustration of Javert’s love for the law is that when he falsely discovers that Valjean was not a convict, he tells him that, “an inferior has shown a complete lack of respect for the law. He must be exposed and punished.” He continues to then admit to slandering Valjean and demanding that Valjean dismisses him immediately because that is what the

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