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. In his other writings, what view did Laclos take of women?

2. Whom does Danceny trust to help him continue his relationship with Cécile?

3. Who is the author of the Editor's Preface?

4. Who or what does Coward see as at fault for the events of the novel?

5. How does Valmont make sure that Madame de Tourvel will read his first letter?

Short Essay Questions

1. What serious warning does Valmont give Merteuil?

2. What were Laclos' general views on politics and gender relations?

3. What was the general response to _Les Liaisons Dangereuses_ in the 20th century?

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

5. What defines or designates the "libertine" literary tradition?

6. Summarize Prévan's "legendary" feat of seduction according to Valmont.

7. How does Valmont describe Madame de Tourvel?

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

9. How does Cécile feel about Danceny's first letter?

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

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

Does Merteuil and Valmont's relationship through letter writing become a stand-in for having a real sexual relationship, or even being in love? What is the significance of them never meeting face-to-face within the confines of the book? Does Merteuil subtly seduce Valmont through the entire novel? What does she lead him to believe? What promise or contract between them does Valmont continually remind her of? How does their sexual tension contribute to the breaking of their relationship late in the novel? How does their relationship change throughout the course of the novel?

Essay Topic 3

Examine the ending of the novel and the various fates assigned to each character. Does the ending and Madame de Volanges' final message fulfill the "requirements" of a moral novel? Could the endings of, arguably, the two most important characters (Valmont's death and Merteuil's disgrace) be considered "Deus ex machinas?" Why or why not? Do you find any symbolism in each character's fate? Where do ideas of morality and justice emerge from the ending of the novel? Does the ending resolve anything, leave any issues ambiguous, or become undercut by the vastness of the immorality in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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