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Victor Hugo gives us an epic tale of sacrifice and duty in his novel Ninety Three.

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Introduction

Victor Hugo gives us an epic tale of sacrifice and duty in his novel Ninety Three. He manages to entertain, while at the same time to educate and enlighten. The plot of this novel revolves around three main characters. Lantenac, Gauvain and Cimourdain. These characters are all men of great importance. They are also all intimately related. The struggle between Gauvain and Cimourdain demonstrates Hugo's political agenda. At the time of writing this novel Hugo was trying to demonstrate that a Republic was possible without the terror of the First Republic. He uses the character Gauvain to advocate the possibility of a Republic of Clemency, rather than a Republic of Terror. Gauvain and Cimourdain represent the two possibilities of the French Republic. Cimourdain represents the Republic of Virtue that existed during 1793, while Gauvain represents the Republic of clemency that Hugo is advocating for the Third Republic. ...read more.

Middle

He saw the necessity of the Terror, and viewed any other option as treason. This implacability is characteristic of the Men of Terror. Another major difference between Cimourdain's view of the Republic, and Gauvain's is their end goal. Cimourdain wanted a Republic of Virtue, where law would force everyone to be good, and for equality to be the rule. The definitive, that is to say, right and duty, in parallel lines, proportional and progressive taxes, obligatory military service, leveling without deviation, and above all and through all, that straight line, law. The Republic of the Absolute. (Hugo, 372) Cimourdain did not wish to raise people to a better place, he simply wanted to equally divide what pleasure and pain already existed. Gauvain is the epitome of Hugo's new Republic, the Republic of Clemency. He wants to create a better world. Pardoning traitors of the Revolution, he believes, will create more support for the Revolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would have no taxes at all. (Hugo, 373) Gauvain's idealism is reflective of Hugo's views. Hugo is advocating a Republic similar to that of 1789, but with loftier goals and tempered by mercy. Gauvain and Cimourdain are the extremes of the French Revolution. One advocating mercy and compassion, the other proposing terror to wipe clean the Republic. In these two characters Hugo is presenting the two Republics. The Republic of Terror vs. the Republic of Clemency. Hugo shows that a Republic without the horror of the original Revolution is possible. Not only is it possible, it is a goal that will lift up man to a level only previously dreamed of. When Gauvain is describing his Republic, one cannot but wish that such a place did truly exist. It is no wonder that Hugo's novels served as an impetus to a revolution, and a republic that for the first time truly embodied the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Knupp 1 ...read more.

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