Pleasures and Pastimes of the Bourgeoisie


The Theatre and Opéra in Les Misérables
~ Pre -revolution

~Fashion in Les Mis

~Rise in Popularity
~Economic and Social Symbolism
~Representation in Les Mis

Gardens ~17th Century ~18th Century ~19th Century ~Versailles

Gambling ~Pre-Revolutionary ~Cafés & Cercles

Opéra & Theatre
~The Revolution
~Social Status
~Les Misérables

Etiquette ~Promenade ~Dances ~Dinner ~Casinos and Salons

Bibliography ~Fashion ~Etiquette ~Restaurants ~Opéra ~Picture Bibliography



"'And then I'll take you to the theatre. I'll take you to Frederick Lemaître's. I get tickets, I know the actors, I even acted once in a play. ... After that, we'll go to the Opera. We'll go in with the claque. The claque at the Opera is very select. I wouldn't go with the claque on some boulevards. At the opera, just think, some pay twenty sous, but they're fools.'"

-Gavroche in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Saint Denis, Book 6, Chapter 2 (pg 833)

What does this passage say about Hugo's perspective on the theatre and the Opera? He obviously doesn't think much of it. Gavroche pokes fun of the bourgeoisie who spend money to go to the same show he sees for free.

Yet, there is a sort of acknowledgement of the popularity and success of the theatre and Opera. Gavroche proposes the outing to his two younger brothers because going to the theatre or the Opera is a fashionable thing to do, aside form being fun. Gavroche has a sense of importance because he both knows actors and has 'performed' on stage: would he feel important if what he was participating in was not as fashionable as it is?