Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does Madame de Tourvel react when Valmont professes his love?

2. What does the author of the Editor's Preface claim he has done?

3. How does Cécile generally feel about the prospect of soon being married?

4. What idea does Merteuil plant in Cécile's head after the revelation of her and Danceny's love?

5. What advice does Valmont give to Madame de Tourvel?

Short Essay Questions

1. What action does Valmont take to make Madame de Tourvel love him, and what are the results?

2. What does the author of the Introduction say about potential political messages of social commentary in Laclos' novel?

3. What does Merteuil assert is the reason women become "victims" of seduction?

4. What are the general contents of Valmont's love letters to Madame de Tourvel?

5. What subterfuge does Valmont use to come into possession of Madame de Tourvel's letters?

6. What event causes Cécile and Danceny to despair? What are the immediate results?

7. How does Cécile describe her feelings about Danceny to Sophie in letter 55?

8. What does the author of the Introduction say is particularly engaging about Laclos' use of the epistolary form?

9. How does Merteuil respond to Valmont's warning?

10. How does the Publisher's Foreword introduce the novel?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine the uses of irony throughout the novel. Your discussion may include: instances of satire, for instance of contemporary literary works or public figures; anything from the sarcastic tone often taken by Merteuil and Valmont in their letters to each other; the many instances of figurative language in the text such as puns and double entendres; the instances of certain characters' hypocrisy or denial; or the dramatic irony through which the reader or character knows something that another character does not. How does Laclos achieve irony? What language, tone, and style of writing indicate irony in the text? How do certain situations where characters find themselves tend toward the ironic?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast the different writing styles of various main characters: Cécile, Danceny, Valmont, Merteuil, Madame de Tourvel, Madame de Rosemonde, and Madame de Volanges. Are any character's style or styles of writing distinct in any way? What type of language, or what tone, is most associated with each character? To what subjects do these characters refer in their letters? How do their styles of writing contribute to the development of their characters? How do their different styles of writing contribute to the "theatricality" of the novel, to its pace, and to the audience's perception of the work?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the theme of nature and artifice, especially with reference to Cécile, Danceny, Merteuil, and Valmont. What are the natural personalities, interests, motivations, and moralities of these characters? How do they consciously or unconsciously change themselves to show their own or others' various desires? Are nature and artifice associated with any kind of moral message in the novel? How does Merteuil's letter 81, in which she offers the story of her youth and her sexual education, complicate the distinctions between nature and artifice? When do Cécile and Danceny exhibit artificial behavior? How are nature and artifice made ambiguous in Valmont's seduction of Madame de Tourvel?

(see the answer keys)

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