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 has Merteuil tricked Cécile into doing?

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

3. How does Coward characterize each "chapter" in __Les Liaisons Dangereuses_?

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

5. Who are the two people Cécile admits she likes best?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Cécile de Volanges.

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

3. What is the content of Danceny's letters to Cécile?

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

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

6. How does Valmont describe Madame de Tourvel?

7. What serious warning does Valmont give Merteuil?

8. How does Cécile describe Danceny to her friend Sophie?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

Examine the theme of male solidarity in the novel. Consider the following situations: the three men involved with Prévan's legendary seduction bond together to ruin all three women who are also Prévan's targets; Valmont convinces Madame de Tourvel's confessor, Father Anselme, to allow Valmont access to Madame de Tourvel; Valmont and Danceny, after dueling, bond together to ruin Merteuil. Are there similar instances of female solidarity in the novel? How does this influence your interpretation of gender roles in the novel? How are "communities," or even friendships, gendered in the text?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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