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 did Laclos' contemporary critics feel his novel would impact society?

2. According to the author of the Editor's Preface, what is the value of a work of literature?

3. What is the main rule of Valmont's and Merteuil's seductions?

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

5. What common subjects of social satire is the novel clearly lacking, according to Coward?

Short Essay Questions

1. What concession does Madame de Tourvel give Valmont, and what are the results?

2. How does Valmont describe Madame de Tourvel?

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

4. Describe Cécile's relationship with Merteuil.

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

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

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

8. What serious warning does Valmont give Merteuil?

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

10. What does Madame de Volanges say about Valmont to warn Madame de Tourvel against becoming too friendly with him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyze Merteuil's relationship with Cécile. What does the older woman do to influence the younger woman? How does Merteuil define Cécile? What are Merteuil's motivations in making Cécile her "protégé?" How does Merteuil manipulate and control Cécile's life and her personal character in ways both visible and invisible to Cécile, to her mother, and to Danceny? Use evidence from Cécile's letters to and about Merteuil, and Merteuil's letters to and about Cécile, to support your arguments.

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

Examine the aspect of Valmont's character that has to do with his feelings for Madame de Tourvel and his feelings for Merteuil. What does he profess to feel for them both, and what does it seem that he actually feels? How does he use language and tone to express these feelings to them and about them? What do his actions around each woman, or having to do with each woman, say about his real feelings for them? Discuss this aspect of Valmont's character as a function of the tension between public and private morality and persona.

(see the answer keys)

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