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. What advice does Madame de Volanges ask of Merteuil?

2. What reflection does Madame de Rosemonde offer to Danceny in letter 171?

3. How long has Valmont spent seducing Madame de Tourvel?

4. What is Madame de Tourvel's mindset in letter 161?

5. In letter 147, what startling news does Madame de Volanges notify Madame de Rosemonde of?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Valmont vow about his seduction of Madame de Tourvel, and how does he plan to carry out his plan?

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

3. Summarize Bertrand's letters to Madame de Rosemonde.

4. Describe Merteuil's end in the novel.

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

6. Describe Madame de Tourvel's dictated, unaddressed letter which Madame de Volanges sends to Madame de Rosemonde.

7. Describe how Madame de Tourvel changes after being abandoned by Valmont.

8. What is the reward Valmont claims from Merteuil, and how does Merteuil respond to this?

9. What event causes Madame de Tourvel to think Valmont does not love her? How does Valmont's respond?

10. Whom does Valmont enlist to help him communicate and meet with Madame de Tourvel? How does this person respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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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