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 does Madame de Tourvel allow Valmont to do?

2. How does Valmont force Madame de Tourvel's maid to help with his plans?

3. What does Cécile tell Danceny in letter 49?

4. How does Valmont spy on Madame de Tourvel?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Merteuil suggest, in different forms, to Cécile and Valmont?

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. What does Valmont essentially tell Merteuil about their relationship with each other in letter 15?

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

Examine the role of servants, doctors, confessors, and others of lower social standing as they seem in the novel. Do these barely visible characters have a voice, or any agency? What portions of the plot do they fill? Are there differences in Laclos' presentation of them through their letters, or through their reported interactions with more vocal characters? What potentially political role could they have in the novel--that is, can one interpret their presence, or lack thereof, as opposed to the presence and characterization of the high-society characters, as a political statement? How do members of the upper-class treat, speak to, or refer to members of the servant and lower classes?

Essay Topic 3

Explore the strange, though steady, friendly relationship that Merteuil and Valmont have maintained with one another. Describe the tone that Merteuil and Valmont's letters take with each other throughout most of the novel. What do these letters say specifically about Valmont and Merteuil's relationship and their past, and what do the letters merely imply or hint at? Why does their relationship fail--is it the result of an action, an event, another person, an exterior or interior force? Examine the friction that has taken place between Merteuil and Valmont throughout the novel. How does Merteuil typically respond to Valmont's letters about Madame de Tourvel? How does Merteuil judge Valmont's feelings for Madame de Tourvel or his motivations in pursuing her? How does Valmont defend his motivations and his feelings to Merteuil, and what promise did he continually remind her of? Why would such a reminder perhaps irritate Merteuil? What is the tone and direction of their correspondence once Merteuil decided to take Danceny as a lover?

(see the answer keys)

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