Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Final Test - Hard

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What physical condition makes it difficult for Madame de Rosemonde to write letters?

2. How does Valmont and Madame de Tourvel's first sexual encounter go?

3. What does Valmont know Merteuil dislikes reading about?

4. What does Cécile assert to Danceny after his letter reveals his suspicions?

5. What does the unsigned note to Danceny communicate?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role that religion, church, and the clergy have in the novel. How does each character treat, refer to, or interact with religion, faith and morality? Explain the reasoning behind the following categorizations of the main characters, based upon the characters' views on, or influence from, religion: Merteuil and Valmont; Madames de Rosemonde, de Volanges, and de Tourvel; Cécile and Danceny.

(see the answer keys)

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