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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Social situation in France at the time of Les Miserables?

I'm reading Les Miserables in school, and I was studying the social situation in France at the time of the novel. I was just wondering, does anyone know exactly WHY there was so much poverty and misery in France at that time? Was it because of the political situation? Because of the french revolution or something...?

Thanks so much!

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, Les Mis is set in the time of the French Revolution.

    A brief background on the French Rev.:

    Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were the monarchs of the time - France was in an economic crisis (part of the reason is b/c they helped America in the Revolutionary War, but the new nation could not pay them back right away) also, the monarchs spent money like crazy. Marie Antoinette is portrayed as the clueless queen who did not know the nation was suffering (particularly the peasants, which made up a great majority of the population) and thought if there's no flour to make bread for the people, "let them eat cake." She was quite a lavish queen, but did little for her people. Anyway, the revolution took toll on the peasants, who revolted - this led to a bloody revolution which ended when the 2 monarchs were killed and then the reign of terror began (the new "leader" Robbespierre began using the guillotine to chop all his opponents/enemies' heads off). Anyways, all did not end well - Napoleon came and saved the day, but to answer your question, yes the tension/poverty in Les Mis is a reflection of the French Revolution.

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