Le Don et le Refus : amour et destinée féminine dans la Princesse de Clèves, Les liaisons dangereuses, et Adolphe

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1984
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The purpose of this present work is to study féminine love psychology in three French novels: La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, and Adolphe by Benjamin Constant. Each of these novels depicts a similar pattern for its major féminine character: the Princesse de Clèves, the Présidente de Tourvel and Ellénore. All of these women experience a unique and ultimate love which ends in failure and brings about their final destiny. The story of these women has too often been perceived as an illustration of the deadly nature of "amour- passion." According to this concept, love is regarded as a realization of "fate" to which the victim must surrender; it is an emotional disorder, a deeply irrational, uncontrollable, and indefinable State of mind which inevitably leads to despair and death. This study intends to demonstrate that this "fate" corresponds to an inner drive within each of the heroines which subconsciously wills them to destroy their chances of happiness and their life through love. [...]

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