Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Final 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. To whom does Valmont write to ask about seeing Madame de Tourvel?

2. What does Madame de Tourvel send to Madame de Rosemonde?

3. About what does Valmont mock Merteuil in letter 158?

4. What has been the effect of Madame de Tourvel's separation from Valmont?

5. What is Merteuil careful to say in Prévan's hearing when they meet for the second time?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Danceny explain his behavior to Madame de Rosemonde?

2. Summarize the problem Madame de Tourvel sees preventing her and Valmont from having a relationship, and how Valmont circumvents her hesitation.

3. What news of Valmont does Madame de Rosemonde give Madame de Tourvel, and how does Madame de Tourvel react?

4. How does Valmont thwart Merteuil with regards to Danceny?

5. Describe Merteuil's warning to Valmont about his reputation in Paris.

6. How did Merteuil develop into a master manipulator?

7. What is the general content of the letter Azolan, Valmont's valet, writes to Valmont?

8. Summarize the content of the "letter" that Merteuil dictates to Valmont about his apparent love of Madame de Tourvel.

9. What happens between Valmont and Madame de Tourvel that shocks and angers Valmont, and why does he react so strongly?

10. What is Madame de Rosemonde's advice to Madame de Tourvel regarding her feelings for Valmont?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of nature and artifice, especially with reference to Cécile, Danceny, Merteuil, and Valmont. What are the natural personalities, interests, motivations, and moralities of these characters? How do they consciously or unconsciously change themselves to show their own or others' various desires? Are nature and artifice associated with any kind of moral message in the novel? How does Merteuil's letter 81, in which she offers the story of her youth and her sexual education, complicate the distinctions between nature and artifice? When do Cécile and Danceny exhibit artificial behavior? How are nature and artifice made ambiguous in Valmont's seduction of Madame de Tourvel?

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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