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

2. What event does Valmont tell Madame de Tourvel secured his love for her?

3. What does Madame de Volanges say about Valmont to Madame de Tourvel in letter 9?

4. What event does Madame de Volanges' sudden illness threaten?

5. How did French society view Laclos after the publication of _Les Liaisons Dangereuses_?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the Editor state in the Editor's Preface?

2. How does Valmont describe Madame de Tourvel?

3. Summarize the content of the "letter" that Merteuil dictates to Valmont about his apparent love of Madame de Tourvel.

4. How does Valmont thwart Merteuil with regards to Danceny?

5. How does Madame de Tourvel respond to Valmont's first love letter?

6. What was Choderlos de Laclos' position in society? Describe his family life.

7. Describe Merteuil's warning to Valmont about his reputation in Paris.

8. How does Madame de Tourvel respond to Madame de Volanges' warning about Valmont?

9. What are Merteuil and Valmont's plans for Danceny and Cécile at the beginning of Part II?

10. What does Valmont vow about his seduction of Madame de Tourvel, and how does he plan to carry out his plan?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

What are Merteuil and Valmont's "ethics" of seduction? How do they plan their seductions? What motivates them to seduce and ruin others? What rules of letter writing, evidence gathering, and record-keeping do they have for themselves and for others? Do you see any ironic or hypocritical behavior in Valmont or Merteuil? Why do they constantly write to each other of their own plans, offer their criticisms or praises of each others plans, tell stories of seductions past, and warn each other of potential dangers?

Essay Topic 2

Analyze the changes in Cecile's character throughout the novel. What characteristics define her in the beginning, middle, and end of the story? Closely analyze Cécile's letters to Sophie, looking for language and phrasing which indicates how she feels about her relationships with others. This includes her thoughts on marriage, her relationship with her mother, her feelings for Danceny, and her friendship with Merteuil. How does her language and her style of writing help define Cécile's character? Why does she stop writing to Sophie? Why is Cécile's voice almost completely absent through the last portions of the novel? What does this conspicuous absence say about her identity, or lack thereof? What control, if any, does Cécile retain over her own life? How does she use this control, or how do others (specifically Valmont) control her?

Essay Topic 3

Define "pornography" and "erotica." How are they alike and/or different? Is there a central issue which divides the two, or are they essentially the same thing? What is their purpose and meaning or implication in popular culture, both to the private person and to society at large? Does _Les Liasons Dangereuses_ count as erotica or pornography, or both, or neither? Why? How do you describe Valmont's and Merteuil's sexual exploits as revealed in letters 10, 47, 71, and 79? Do these letters offer detail about feelings, desires, sexual acts, and body parts in lurid detail, or does the text dance around the issues by only alluding to them and making puns and double entendres? What about these letters might shock or offend a moral or virtuous reader, either in the 18th century or today? What could be the reasons that Valmont and Merteuil enjoy writing such letters to one another? Can writing be erotic without actually referring directly to sexual acts, to the human body, or to specific desires? For example, close-read letter 48, in which Valmont describes to Madame de Tourvel his passion for her, but the letter plays a joke on her by referring to Valmont's night of sex with Émilie in letter 47.

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