Manon Lescaut is a novel written by the abby Prévost during the eighteenth century Enlightenment. When first published, the book was seen as scandalous because it suggested that love, fate, and emotion ruled aspects of life. That, and it was written by a member of the church whose writings and behavior did not resemble in many ways that of a clergyman. The heart of my presentation addresses the parallel experiences of the two principal characters in Manon Lescaut: the enchanted chevalier, Des Grieux, and the enchanting Manon Lescaut. A central theme of the novel is the ability of love to change life and to render someone void of logic and sensibility, to weaken and to even destroy. Contrary to most research concerning Manon and her lack of character development, I believe she is truly transformed by the end of the novel. These changes are evident through a textual analysis and a discussion about theme and can be compared to the changes we see in Des Grieux.
Jennifer Chamberlain, ’06 Lombard, IL
Majors: Secondary Education, French
Sponsor: Jan Boney