Les Liaisons Dangereuses | Criticism

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
This literature criticism consists of approximately 16 pages of analysis & critique of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
This section contains 3,808 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Susan Dunn

SOURCE: “Valmont, Actor and Spectator,” The French Review, Vol. LVIII, No. 1, October, 1984, pp. 41-7.

In the essay below, Dunn analyzes Valmont's role as an actor and an observer in the novel, arguing that his inability to understand himself ultimately destroys him.

Madame de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are essentially theatrical beings, brilliant and entertaining performers who weave webs of illusion and deception in which they trap their victims, exploiting the gullibility of others while assuring their own power and freedom. Their acting ability is a function not of talent, emotion, or sincerity, but rather of intelligence and will: to perform is to be in possession of oneself and of one's role.

Students of Les Liaisons dangereuses have often seen Valmont and Madame de Merteuil as actors (“Ce sont des protagonistes libertins, toujours masqués, toujours acteurs”1), realizing that although both are ultimately victims of their own...

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This section contains 3,808 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Susan Dunn
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Gale
Critical Essay by Susan Dunn from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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