Les Miserables: An Analysis of Six Crucial Songs in the Musical

This is a song in Act I sung by the entire company of singers, all of whom are in the persona of factory workers.This early song sets the scene of the misery and poverty of the majority of the French populace.It helps explain why revolution occurs later on in the piece: "it's a struggle, it's a war," say the actors of their daily existence."What it is to be living!" However, unlike the triumphant company songs that follow later, the bitter workers are merely resigned to their lot, without much hope of changing their circumstances. At the end of the piece, the audience is introduced to Fantine, and learns that she has a child.The occasional cruelty of the embittered poor is highlighted as the other workers taunt her and accuse her of immorality. When she fights with another woman, trying to conceal a letter that reveals her secret, she is fired.
Song Two: "I Dreamed a Dream" (Fantine)
This Act I aria teaches the audience of the significance Fantine's sacrifice for her daughter Cosette.The audience learns that Fantine, when she was younger and more foolish, was taken advantage of by a man. But "he was gone when autumn came," and she gave birth to a child out of wedlock.However, the audience also learns that Fantine remains full of hope for a better life for her child-"and still I dream he'll come to me," even though she says "life has killed the dream I dreamed." The hope to live a better life that will give rise to revolution is embodied in the character of Fantine and the themes of her song, as Fantine still dreams on, even though her life circumstances are currently full of misery, and will eventually, by the end of Act I drive her to a life of prostitution and eventually death.
Song Three:Master of the House (Thernardiers)
"Comforter, philosopher, and life long…" so goes Madame Thernardier's description of her husba…


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