Marius should have ended up with Eponine-not Cosette!!!
Debate Rounds (3)
First off, I would like to ask you why do you think Eponine was better for Marius rather than Cosette? What makes here so much more special?
But with me, to be honest I actually prefer Eponine to Cosette in character. I find Eponine's character more interesting and I feel more sympathy for her as well empathy. However, there is a good reason why Marius should have not have been with Eponine: Eponine is an impoverished street rat with not a penny on her plate, whereas Cosette is a wealthy lady with high status. If Marius ended up with Eponine, he would have been scoffed and looked down upon by society because back in those days is was not appropriate for a man of his status to marry a woman of low social and economic class. I mean nowadays it would be more acceptable but not back in 19th century France.
Second off is because I just think that Eponine and Marius were better off as just friends. They have more of a friendship than a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife bond whereas Cosette has more of that bond with Marius than a friendship bond.
The third reason why Marius should not have ended up with Eponine is probably one of the most obvious reasons: Marius did not love Eponine. Why should he be with someone he does not love? He obviously saw something in Cosette that he loved that he did not find in Eponine so that is the reason he ended up with Cosette and not Eponine.
Don't get me wrong. I love Eponine and she's probably my favorite character. If I were on the West End I would probably want to play her or Cosette but I just don't think that she was the right girl for Marius. I think she should have moved on from him and found someone who would actually love her that way she probably would not have died.
Hello again, my opponent, and yes, I hope people actually bother to vote on this debate!
"...why do you think Eponine was better for Marius rather than Cosette? What makes here [sic] so much more special?"
First of all, the "love triangle" between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine is one of the few parts of Les Miserables that I dislike. Marius and Cosette fall in love the moment they glance each other; a ridiculous trope that belongs only in Disney movies. Heck, even Disney has moved on from this cliche, parodying it in movies like Frozen, but the most recent Les Mis adaptation, the 2012 film, plays it with utter seriousness.
To answer your question, Cosette was never an interesting character, even in the original Hugo story. If she has a personality, it's never shown or explained. In spite of her dark, twisted, horrible childhood, she turned out to be a pretty bland, average teenage girl. Eponine, on the other hand, is immensely intriguing. Despite being raised with Cosette as her foster sibling, her life was the total opposite. She was spoiled and pampered as a child; given anything she asked for. But in her teenage years, she was plunged into poverty and wretchedness. She became a tragic and pathetic figure, and we identify with her struggle to survive. And as I will explain later, her love for Marius developed over time, rather than popping out of nowhere like Cosette's.
Con has already admitted that Eponine was the more interesting character, which seems to contradict her questioning of why she was more special. She then states:
"If Marius ended up with Eponine, he would have been scoffed and looked down upon by society..."
This is a legitimate point, and true to history. However, it's merely a pragmatic reason why Marius would choose Cosette, and doesn't relate to why they would work better as a couple. Marius obsesses over Cosette before he discovers anything about her, so wealth wasn't his motive for loving her. Even if he had married her for the money, that would be all the more reason why the romance between them is poor. Besides, he joins a revolutionary group bent on overthrowing the current monarchy, so he likely doesn't care much what the French aristocracy thinks of him.
"Second off is because I just think that Eponine and Marius were better off as just friends. They have more of a friendship than a boyfriend/girlfriend...bond."
You're half right. The bond between Eponine and Marius starts out as mutual friendship, as most romances do in real life. While Eponine first visits her neighbor Marius simply to beg for money, she gradually falls in love with him as they talk and get to know each other, though this love is tragically one-sided. Not the greatest romance ever written, but leagues better than the one written for Marius and Cosette. Obviously, they have more of a boyfriend/girlfriend bond, since Victor Hugo decided that they should be together. But from a storytelling perspective, a Marius/Eponine relationship would have been more satisfying, because we want so badly to see the Thenardier girl get a happy ending, and many of us couldn't care less about Cosette.
"Marius did not love Eponine. Why should he be with someone he does not love? He obviously saw something in Cosette that he loved that he did not find in Eponine..."
Your logic is flawed here. We are debating what should have happened, not which was more likely to happen. While Marius did love Cosette in the story, his love is contrived, unrealistic, and makes no sense. It would have been far more interesting to see him go for the girl that had actual character. You mention that he "saw something in Cosette that he loved". What do you think that something was? For me and many other Les Mis fans, there is no reason for Marius and Cosette to be in love, and Eponine was far more deserving of the love that she so desperately wanted.
Thank you for a good opening argument, Con. I now await your rebuttal and final thoughts next round.
I applaud you for you amazing arguments that are so difficult to debunk, but I will try my best.
"Marius and Cosette fall in love the moment they glance each other; a ridiculous trope that belongs only in Disney movies. Heck, even Disney has moved on from this cliche, parodying it in movies like Frozen, but the most recent Les Mis adaptation, the 2012 film, plays it with utter seriousness."
Good point. I think it is a bit ridiculous that Marius and Cosette have the "love at first sight" cliche but the difference between that anf Frozen is that Hans proposed to Anna on the same day she met him whereas Marius did not. At least he waited a while before marrying Cosette. Probably what they saw at first sight was beauty: Marius though Cosette was beautiful and Cosette thought Marius was handsom and they got to know each other a bit more rather than Anna and Hans.
"Cosette was never an interesting character, even in the original Hugo story. If she has a personality, it's never shown or explained."
I think the reason Cosette seems so unisteresting to so many readers/viewers is because of the time period she's in- women back in those days were just expected to look pretty so a man would woo her- she was not supposed to be interesting. The reason why Eponine is a more interesting character than Cosette to many is because she's poor so she doesn't have to worry about looking pretty for a man because very few would want to marry her anyway.
"Eponine, on the other hand, is immensely intriguing. Despite being raised with Cosette as her foster sibling, her life was the total opposite. She was spoiled and pampered as a child; given anything she asked for. But in her teenage years, she was plunged into poverty and wretchedness. She became a tragic and pathetic figure, and we identify with her struggle to survive."
I agree with you here. But here's one thing about Eponine: she was abusive towards Cosette as a child and never even said sorry to her for it later in life nor did she show any remorse. She stole from Marius and even hid his letters to Cosette out of jealousy. What kind of person would want to be with a thief like that? If Eponine truly loved him, she would have not hidden those letters (I'm not saying she did not love him because she took a bullet for him for god's sake).
I don't have enough characters to debunk everything so I will give my own points
Cosette was in need for love. Sure she got love from Valjean but she needed love from a man her own age. Eponine needed love too because her parents did not really care for her, but Cosette lost her mother, never met her father, and was abused by the Thenardiers whilst they spoiled their own daughters so in a way, Eponine kind of got what she deserved- she has no one to love her like Cosette did during her childhood.
About your wealth point, I agree that wealth was probably not the reason why Marius chose Cosette but whether or not he loved her for her status or not, it was a better choice for him than Eponine during his time period and since there is no democracy quite yet, he would likely be looked down upon by society.
I too would have loved to see a happy ending for Eponine. She deserved better: she deserved much better than Marius and she could have lived if she would have just found somone who would love her or just accepted the fact that Marius did not love her and give her blessing to him and Cosette.
Victor Hugo put Cosette and Marius together for a reason. Maybe not everyone likes his desicion but it was just the way he wrote it. I do not know ehat this "something" is than Marius found in Cosette and not Eponine but it was obviously powerful and strong enough for him to fall for her. Maybe he liked her gentle and warm character rather than Eponine's mishcieveous, clever character. Maybe he prefers the traditional type of women- one who are soft and gentle rather than ones who are not. Although I prefer Eponine in character to Cosette, I kind of hate it when people talk so lowly of her.
Because this is the final round, I won't introduce any new points and will stick to refuting instead.
"Probably what they saw at first sight was beauty: Marius though Cosette was beautiful and Cosette thought Marius was handsom [sic] and they got to know each other a bit more..."
In that case, it was a purely physical attraction, not grounds for a romance. Perhaps Marius and Cosette had feelings of adolescent lust towards each other, but those are far different from love. Carnal desire can help initiate a romantic relationship, for sure, but this couple has neither romantic nor sexual chemistry. They have none of the conversations that lovers would have. They don't joke, flirt, comfort each other, get in fights, or even engage in small talk. Just empty declarations of "I love you!" Their romance feels totally artificial.
"I think the reason Cosette seems so unisteresting to so many readers/viewers is because of the time period she's in- women back in those days were just expected to look pretty so a man would woo her- she was not supposed to be interesting."
I have to disagree with this. Just because women in 19th-century France were expected to be quiet and obedient doesn't mean they lacked a personality outside of that. Fantine was one of the most tragic, emotional characters in the entire story, and for a while, it was her job to look pretty and have men woo her. There are also plenty of female characters written around Hugo's time (or before) that had far more depth while sticking close social norms. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published only 3 years after Les Miserables, and that book's protagonist manages to be a more likable, clever, curious, and interesting character than Cosette. Even though Alice is only seven years old! Going back three centuries earlier, Shakespeare's plays featured great female characters like Ophelia and Gertrude from Hamlet, Juliet from Romeo & Juliet, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth. All of them are ladylike in the traditional sense, and products of their own time, but still complex. Therefore, Cosette's adherence to social norms can't be used as an excuse for why she lacks any personality.
"she was abusive towards Cosette as a child and never even said sorry...If Eponine truly loved him, she would have not hidden those letters."
Eponine was only a child and, as children do, followed her parents' wicked example. Maybe she should have apologized or felt some form of remorse, but since she was only a kid, she can't be held accountable for abusing Cosette. I agree that preventing the two lovers from communicating was perhaps an amoral thing to do on Eponine's part, but can you blame her? She is desperately in love with Marius; naturally, she wants to do all she can to prevent him from hooking up with her foster sister. Definitely a selfish thing to do, but a human thing to do as well. In contrast to Cosette's bland, unblemished, angelic purity.
"Cosette lost her mother, never met her father, and was abused by the Thenardiers whilst they spoiled their own daughters so in a way, Eponine kind of got what she deserved- she has no one to love her like Cosette did during her childhood."
I understand this from a storytelling standpoint. Eponine's life begins with loving companionship and ends with miserable loneliness; Cosette's life is the exact opposite. Simple irony. But did Eponine really "get what she deserved"? Not at all. Cosette's horrible treatment at the hands of the Thernardiers was not Eponine's fault. I felt great pity for Cosette early on in the story, mostly because of her mother's heart-rending situation. But the pity I felt for Eponine later on was so much greater.
In summary, I think Marius would have been better off with Eponine because she is a far more interesting character, as well as a tragic figure who deserved love as much as any character in Les Miserables. I thank Con for a great and very engaging debate, and wish her luck in the voting period.
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