Sunday, November 17, 2013

In Defense of Cosette

Okay. So, up until about a year ago, I didn't like Cosette. I totally hated her. I thought she was selfish, annoying, and really pointless. I've since come around, and though I don't particularly love her character, I think that if you hate Cosette for the aforementioned reasons, you maybe need a few things explained.
I just wanted to put a picture into the post.
Cosette Stole Eponine's Man!
Here's the thing. Cosette didn't 'steal' Marius from Eponine because she didn't even know there was another girl in love with him! She had no idea about Eponine, and if she did, knowing Cosette, she probably would have felt very sorry about the whole thing.
The other characters suffer so much, while Cosette just sits around and gets married.
Other characters like... Fantine? Fantine suffered because she loved Cosette so much. She would have done anything to give Cosette a good life. Jean Valjean knew that, so when he rescued Cosette from the Thenardiers, he gave her the life her mother wanted for her. Fantine would have wanted it that way.
Cosette was spoiled.
When Marius first sees Cosette in the film, she's giving money to a poor person. When he sees her in the musical(depending on the production, I suppose), she and her father are going out of their way to help people. And in the book, Valjean and Cosette go to Gorbeau Manor to help a family of poor people(Who just so happen to be the Thenardiers). Cosette is very kind and compassionate, and does her best to help a girl who was injured. Cosette was pampered, and had everything she wanted. But she wasn't spoiled, and she felt compassion for those less fortunate than her, maybe because of what she went through as a child.
Cosette isn't Relatable.
Yeah, maybe not in the unrequited love department, no, she's not. But anyone with protective parents and a rather sheltered life might identify with Cosette. I know my sister feels like she can relate to Cosette. Sure, those aren't things everyone can relate to, but then again, not everyone has suffered unrequited love, or a breakup. One of the reasons Les Miserables is cool is because there are dozens of characters, and there's always at least one that you feel you can relate to.
Cosette is boring, and unimportant.
Yeah, I can't offer much of a persuasive argument for this, because one's perception of what's boring varies. If you mean that she's boring because she doesn't do anything but get married, than, yeah. Maybe you would rather skim until you reach the barricade. But her purpose as a character is interesting to me. She brought out a rather soft side to Valjean. She's what keeps him going, because to Valjean, Cosette is like the whole world. It took real strength for him to let her marry Marius. And what's more, he didn't just have to give them his blessing and send them on their merry way- he also had to actively go out and save Marius' life! Almost losing his own in the process, I might say. At one point, Valjean and Marius are almost out of the sewers, but can't get out because the gate is locked. There, alone with a dying man, Valjean doesn't think about his death. He doesn't even think about Marius' death. He thinks about Cosette. It doesn't have much to do with her actual personality, but Cosette is the center of Valjean's world. That makes her a very important character. I mean, there's a reason she's the logo for the musical.

Ahem. If you made it through these huge chunks of paragraph, I congratulate you!
I have to say, Cosette is better portrayed in some adaptations than others. In the musical, depending on how the actress plays the part, she can come across as vapid and airhead-y. Or she can be on the other side of the spectrum, and seem whiny and ungrateful to Valjean. I thought that she was very well portrayed in the 2012 film, a good balance between inquisitive about her father's past and respecting him.
So! I suppose it's time for me to stop ranting now. :)
I hope I didn't come across as arrogant or rude while arguing my points.

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