Victor Hugo, in Les Miserables, creates a Christ figure in the character of Jean Valjean.
Jean Valjean is currently the mayor of a town after he runs away from his parole. His parole officer, Javert, is constantly on the lookout for him. One day, Valjean gets news that a man was captured and was going to appear before the judge because the man was framed as being Jean Valjean. Valjean is torn between letting the man take the punishment so that he could stay in his town and watch over his people and going to the court and turning himself in, as an honest man would.
Ultimately, Valjean decides to turn himself in, and to the judge, before the jury, says, “’Gentlemen of the jury, release the accused…
He is not the man whom you seek; it is I, I am Jean Valjean’” (pg. 118). Valjean sacrifices the life he built up for himself after struggling for years in chains. He turns himself in, knowing full well he’d have to face serious consequences and possibly even leave his position as mayor.
However, Valjean still decides to turn himself in because he feels that it is unjust for the man to take the blame for him. He feels that his punishment is worth it because he is doing the right thing. Similarly, Christ died for our sins. He entered the world knowing full well that he’d be hated, humiliated, harassed – yet because he knew it was the right thing for him to do under God’s will, he sacrificed himself in order to save us from God’s wrath.
Jesus allowed himself to be hung on the cross in shame with his father’s entire wrath on his shoulders as the ultimate sacrifice. Valjean sacrifices the life he built up for himself and spares the man of his punishment because he knows it is what he has to do, even if that means he would have to endure much pain and many struggles.
Cite this Jean Valjean – Christ Figure
Jean Valjean – Christ Figure. (2016, May 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/jean-valjean-christ-figure/