Les Miserables...Anyone seen it??

I saw Les Miserables the other day at the theatre, and blimey it was hard going. It was really difficult following what they were singing about so i gave up in the end and just enjoyed the music despite not knowing what they were singing about. What was it about? All I got was that a poor man stole some silver, he was let off for some reason, he became rich (somehow), and bought a child from some woman who was treating the child as a slave (the daughter's real mother had died). I did not understand anymore of it. Can someone help me to make sense of this play.

12 Answers

  • Nette
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    After nineteen years of imprisonment for stealing food for his starving family, the peasant Jean Valjean is released. However, he is required to carry a yellow ticket, which marks him as a convict. Rejected by innkeepers who do not want to take in a convict, Valjean sleeps on the street. However, the benevolent Bishop Myriel takes him in and gives him shelter. In the night, he steals the bishop’s silverware and runs. He is caught, but the bishop rescues him by claiming that the silver was a gift. The bishop then tells him that in exchange, he must become an honest man.

    Six years later, Valjean has become a wealthy factory owner and is appointed mayor of his adopted town, having broken his parole and assumed the pseudonym of Père Madeleine to avoid capture by Inspector Javert, who has been pursuing him. Fate, however, takes an unfortunate turn when another man is arrested, accused of being Valjean, and put on trial, forcing the real ex-convict to reveal his true identity. At the same time, he meets the dying Fantine, who had been fired from her job at his factory and has resorted to prostitution. She has a young daughter, Cosette, who lives with a corrupt innkeeper and his selfish, cruel wife. As Fantine dies, Valjean, seeing in Fantine similarities to his former life of hardship, promises her that he will take care of Cosette. He pays off the innkeeper, Thénardier, to obtain Cosette. Valjean and Cosette flee for Paris. Once in Paris, they find shelter in a convent. Not allowed to search the convent, Javert is unable to find the pair.

    Ten years later, as Cosette and Valjean are leaving the convent, angry students, led by Enjolras, are preparing a revolution on the eve of the Paris uprising on June 5–6, 1832, following the death of General Lamarque, the only French leader who had sympathy towards the working class. They are also joined by the poor, including the young street urchin Gavroche. One of the students, Marius Pontmercy, who has become alienated from his family because of his liberal views, falls in love with Cosette, who has grown to be very beautiful. The Thénardiers, who have also moved to Paris, lead a gang of thieves to raid Valjean’s house while Marius is visiting. However, Thénardier’s daughter, Éponine, who is also in love with Marius, convinces the thieves to leave.

    The following day, the students revolt and erect barricades in the narrow streets of Paris. Valjean, learning that Cosette's lover is fighting, joins them in order to protect Marius. Éponine also joins to protect Marius, and ends up taking a bullet for him and dying happily in his arms. During the ensuing battle, Valjean saves Javert from being killed by the students and lets him go. Javert, a man who believes in absolute obedience of the law, is caught between his belief in the law and the mercy Valjean has shown him. Unable to cope with this dilemma, Javert kills himself. Valjean carries off the injured Marius, but many others, including Enjolras and Gavroche, are killed. Escaping through the sewers, he returns Marius to Cosette. Marius and Cosette are soon married. Valjean loses his strength to live, since Cosette no longer needs him. Marius is convinced Valjean is of poor moral character and steers Cosette away from him. Marius learns of Valjean's good deeds too late and rushes to Valjean's house, where he lies dying. Valjean reveals his past to the pair, and then dies.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Saw it in the theater 3 times! Wonderful! Read the book written by its author, Victor Hugo. It explains a lot of the back story. Because it was written so long ago, 1862, it's a difficult read so be prepared. Sounds like you got most of the plot. Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread for his starving family, and that's what got the ball rolling. Spent 19 years in prison, got out, and couldn't get work, place to sleep, etc. because he had been in prison. He was going to go back to a life of crime and steal the bishop's silver, but the bishop gave him a chance to change the direction of his life and let him have the silver he was about to steal. Valjean used this as a turning point, and worked hard to become an important man. He works his way from prisoner to factory owner and mayor in just 6 years, but Javert has been after Valjean all this time because of Valjean's parole violation. Javert at one point thinks he's caught Valjean but he has the wrong man. Valjean has done so much and come so far in his life, but he can't allow someone else to go to prison in his place so he turns himself in but runs away again. Meanwhile, Fantine had been a worker at Valjean's factory, got wrongfully fired, and was forced into a life of prostitution. She was trying to support her daughter who was staying with an inkeeper and his wife who had a daughter of their own that was a similar age. Fantine ends up very sick, Valjean finds out and promises Fantine he'll take care of her kid. When he finds her daughter, Cosette, she isn't leading the life mom thought she was. He gets the kid and they both hide in a convent for 10 years. After that, he thinks that the coast is clear. But the French Revolution starts! Lots of people die including the inkeeper's daughter, Eponine. Cosette meets a guy. Valjean helps the boyfriend when he gets wounded in the war. Valjean meets up with Javert again during the war, has a chance to kill Javert but doesn't. Javert has been obsessing about Valjean all this time and was convinced, once a criminal, always a criminal. He can't come to terms that his whole belief system was wrong and that his whole life was a big waste of time so he kills himself. Valjean tells Cosette everything on his death bed. Cosette marries her boyfriend. The End!

    Lots of moral lessons in this story!

  • 4 years ago

    If you are talking about the national tour - go! I saw the show on Broadway when a friend was in the original cast, so I was lucky enough to get house seats (for free). But I would have spent whatever tickets cost back then to see this stunning show. This is Victor Hugo's masterpiece set to soaring music. The National Tour will have the original Broadway sets, costumes, lighting, etc. -- to say nothing of top-quality actors. It's worth every penny. Enjoy - but bring your handkerchief - no one sees the show without shedding some tears.

  • 1 decade ago

    You can read the book Les Miserables or the book Jean Val Jean to find out.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Les Miserables is one of the most beautiful musicals ever written. Watch one of the numerous films or read the book ...

  • 1 decade ago

    Wow, some wonderful answers on here, it'll be hard to pick the best one!!

    I've seen this French classic in the West End, three times and love it.

  • 1 decade ago

    ohh this is one of the most amazing stories ever made..

    a pity you didn't understood it, possible the cast where not good enough.. i would suggest that you watch the movie, if you are to lazy to read the book. then you will understand the storie better.

    the movie made some years ago with Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich is really good..

  • Emma
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Nope, but I tried to watch the video a few years back, that was hard going! But the songs are great, well worth it. Just buy the CD, lol.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You`re an idiot.

    To belittle such a masterpiece of Musical Theatre this way just shows you for the uneducated moron that you really are.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nette has it right. Its a shame that you found it hard going. I thought It was brilliant.

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