Essay on Les Liaisons

Submitted By hazzawoo
Words: 526
Pages: 3

In the 18th Century, the philosophical movement in Western Europe manifested a growth of emphasis on male and female difference in intellectual and emotional capacities. This meant that the notion that the characteristic of women were not necessarily inferior to men. In fact, the rational and honourable faculties inherent to each male and female were complimentary. Although the earlier tradition emphasised female intellect as an imperfect version of the male, the newer version was that women would have their own individual kind of intellectual character which is known as the ‘natural’ complement to particularly male perceptive ability. This gender role is certainly present in all adaptations of Dangerous Liaisons. The Marquise de Merteuil is a victim of this. Merteuil uses women’s earlier notion of traditional roles to her advantage, she fawns female virtue and submission so well that her playing in Dangerous Liaisons never once gets suspected. She takes the newer notion and uses her body as a reward to Vicomte de Valmont and makes a bet with him, if he is successful, he can have her for the night. Obviously, Merteuil has to conquer to have her high status reputation maintained. Because Cecile Volange has had an arranged marriage planned to Comte de Gercourt, Merteuil doesn’t want this to fault her high reputation as this is one of her ex-lovers. For a man to choose a younger, virginal girl over a mature sexual woman is a humiliation for The Marquise. As Vicomte and Merteuil are ‘partners in crime’ Valmont, as a favour; says that he will take Cecile the virgin, away from the Gercourt and save Merteuil the degradation. However, Marquise knows very well that although Cecile may have been locked away from the real world in a convent, she is not as senseless as she may come across. Cecile is dangerously in love with Chevalier Danceny, her handsome music teacher. Valmont refuses, finding the task too easy, and preferring to offer himself to seducing Madame de Tourvel. Merteuil promises Valmont that if he seduces Madame de Tourvel and delivers her with written proof, she will…