Ethics in Les Miserables
When faced with concepts like crime and punishment, there is a majority of people who would claim that the law must be obeyed under all circumstances, without any exception. It would actually be quite difficult to find someone who openly stated beliefs that criminals should sometimes get away with crime instead of being brought to justice. The character of Javert in Les Miserables is a classic example of an absolutist who believes in the supreme power of the justice system. This character proves that absolutism can actually cause underlying issues and moral dilemmas. This is one of the first ethical theories that is addressed in Les Miserables. Rule-based theory, also called deontological theory, …show more content…
Throughout the entire story, Valjean struggles between what is right and what I wrong, and how to figure out the best course of action. In terms of ethics, the entire story proves that ethics is messy and complicated. There is power in understanding that ethics is complicated. It allows people to show compassion to others due to knowledge that comes from past experience. Valjean, for example, can sympathize with Fantine who has gone so far as to sell herself in to prostitution in order to have enough money for her daughter. His heart aches for the prisoner who was caught stealing and was believed to him. He loves Marius for seeing all of the wonderful things there were to love about Cosette. Valjean is even about to respect the authority of Javert and offer himself over to the law.
There are many dimensions in every ethical dilemma. If we look at ethics mainly concerned about what is the right or wrong thing to do in any given situation, we miss the point. Ethics is about being and becoming a good person. Ethics is about how both the successes and mistakes one makes can be learned from. Rules are important, but so is attention to consequence. Ideally,