Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Character Thursday: Enjolras

Volume V, Book 1, Chapter 24 of Les Miserables starts with the sentence, “Marius was, in fact, a prisoner.” As I read it, I told myself, “Enjolras is dead. I care no longer about Marius.” I closed the book and slept. My eyes were red. Yes, Enjolras' death is the first thing that makes me cry in Volume V.

Who is Enjolras? He is patriotism personified.

Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras in Les Miserables
He appears first on the third Volume, when Hugo is talking about the friendship of the ABC. He is the leader of them. Enjolras is but 22, he is “angelically handsome”, but very serious. When we read about him we forget everything, including the fact that he has parents, that he is rich, that he has grand future in front of him if he just sits silently at home or satisfies himself with the pleasure so many youths occupy themselves with. We start seeing him as a single person who has nothing in the world but an idealism. The young man's mind is full with one thing only – the Republic.

Alright, my grief is still so new. I will just put some quotes from Hugo and try to show why Enjolras, despite being a minor character, wins my heart more than Marius does.

It was Combeferre, and this is what he was singing:—
“Si Cesar m’avait donne (If Caesar had given me)
La gloire et la guerre, (The glory and the war)
Et qu’ il me fallait quitter (And I am obliged to quit)
L’amour de ma mere, (The love of my mother)
Je dirais au grand Cesar: (I'd say to great Caesar)
Reprends ton sceptre et ton char, (Take back your sceptre and your chariot)
J’aime mieux ma mere, o gue! (I prefer my mother's love)
J’aime mieux ma mere!’ 
At that moment, he felt Enjolras’ hand on his shoulder.
‘Citizen,’ said Enjolras to him, ‘my mother is the Republic.’

Thus he explains to Marius why he loves the Republic and not Napoleon, great as he was. No matter how great a person is, society is still greater than him. Enjolras holds freedom of the people as something far immense than both the royalty and the empire. Yes, he prefers the Republic to Caesar.

Then the revolution begins, in the form of street war. Enjolras becomes the leader by will, and Marius somehow becomes a co-leader by chance. Enjolras fights out of love for his country, Marius out of desperation. Enjolras puts his heart in every gesture and every glance in that battle. Marius puts his heart in Cosette's dream.

In one Chapter of the first book, people start to say that Enjolras is a queer fellow, who is “as cold as ice but as bold as fire.” They say Enjolras is cold because he has no mistress (even with a mistress I don't think he could mend his coldness). And then he mutters his mistress' name – the love of his life.

Enjolras did not appear to be listening, but had any one been near him, that person would have heard him mutter in a low voice: ‘Patria.’

His mistress is his country.

Should I tell the manner of his death? The barricade falls down, he, unscratched, surrounded by the furious National Guards who want revenge for their comrades. He admits everything, and is ready for everything. Grantaire asks permission to die with him; permission granted. The two friends die together. Borrowing a phrase from Shakespeare, I would love to say, “What a fall was there, my countrymen.” Enjolras' death is a sad, but beautiful death.

It is easier, however, to be just like Grantaire, who adores the star without being part of it, who revolves around the gravity without touching the planet itself. He likes Enjolras' conviction without being convinced himself. He dies, not for the Republic, but perhaps solely for the sake of dying with his friend. Such a nice person.

Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.
- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.
- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.
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1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
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3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
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  1. Les Miserables is one of my all-time favorite books - But I've never really thought much about Enjolras' character. You've made some interesting points, I'll have to think more about him. :)

    1. Ah, dear. Enjolras' death makes me cry. The article is much about my ranting than character analysis. But thanks for reading it. :D

  2. When I read it, I had the impression that Enjolras was just a fanatic revolutionist. But again...I read the abridged version..

    1. Fanda, I'd like to recommend the unabridged version - long as it is. Enjolras is certainly a fanatic, but he's a charming fanatic. "If you have tears, prepare to shed them."