Why I Like Eponine in “Les Miserables”

I was eighteen years-old, sitting in a dark theatre about as far back as anyone could sit in the audience. I hadn’t read the book yet, but the closing song: “Do you hear the people sing? Singing the songs of angry men…” left goosebumps on my arm.

I first saw “Les Miserables” on stage in London. Those songs echoed throughout the rest of that senior class trip– partially because of the tragic deaths of young people fighting for a cause I thought everyone deserved and my close proximity to their age.

eponineWhen I found out that Samantha Barks who first played Eponine in London would be playing her again in the 2012 December release of the movie, I was ecstatic. And once again I found myself sympathisizing with a character who overcame corrupt parents and still chose to help Cosette despite her love for Marius. Somehow Eponine deserved the love of Marius. Hadn’t her love proved to be more than love at first sight? Didn’t she have a basis for the feelings she declared for Marius?

But in the end, when the last song echoed throughout the theatre, I couldn’t escape the power of conviction which leads to self-sacrifice. Eponine was only one of many who remained true to personal conviction (including Javert’s notion of the law). The tragedy of her death for love and the heartbreak of men and children dying to stand up against injustice echo throughout that final song before the curtain falls.

Not to be overly dramatic, but I want to live my convictions just as those characters did. Isn’t beautiful how a story can remind us of that?

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