• Cristiane Serruya

Abbé Prevost Manon Lescaut analization


In 18th century, Montequieu disaproved Manon Lescaut. In his opinion, it was insurrection, indiscipline, untraditional behavior and morals. What he didn’t know, it was the beginning of the Romanticism.

It became popular: a tragical love affair between lovers separated by social-economical hierarchy.

The story is told by De Grieux point of view. Is it fiction? Did Grieux created Manon’s thoughts or acts? We’ll never know. We only see Griex’s feelings. As I stated on my first assignment, every relationship is fiction, even the one with oneself. There’re things we are not equipped to bear.

This is a story about cross-lines, cross-lovers, cross-bounds. Griex, knight, destined to church, falls deeply in love with a beautiful common girl, Manon. A scandal. Against all odds, he decided to purse his passion.

Prevost builds emotions while actions, reactions and consequences develop. The couple are separated constantly, by his family and by betrayal on her part. Griex is driven insane when he discovered the betrayal and poured out his pain in lines that showed what a man feels when it happens. It causes pathological reactions. Until recently, it was a pledge of innocent if a murder was committed in such a state.

Depending on the way the story is told and on the readers’ experiences, emotions scream out from the page. Griex tells us his in such a blatant way that we share them. He’s in such desperate need of Manon’s love that haywires, specially with those that helped him without second intentions. As if the others’ feelings for him – and his for them – could make up for his loss. It’s a lack of discipline, a saying ‘help me, I need you.’ It’s sadness, need, which has to be mitigated.

After the calmness he had achieved during months in church, he sees her, and has an ephiphany: she’s the one. Nothing, could compensate such a loss. It’s passion at its fullest, otherworldly. As the one John Keats felt for Fanny Brown, in Bright Star.

They go to New Orleans. She explains the betrayed occurred because she was afraid of dying poor. Griex discovers he has to learn about Manon and the New World. She tells him her heart’s fidelity is his but not her body’s loyalty.

Interesting point: Body’s and heart’s fidelity and loyalty are not a male possession. They’re lovers’, partners’. Men can’t dictated what a women should do. It should be discussed and agreed upon.

Man follows rules because they exist without think.

While traveling, a steady bond is formed. Forgetting their love was more important than a piece of paper, they are trapped when ask permission to marry.

A passion like theirs controls bodies, hearts and souls, never freeing one from another. As Munch’s The Kiss lovers when separated, experienced anguish and torment because they need that special connection again, I could see Grieux and Manon in Munch’s paintings.


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