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Cosette

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Cosette
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Biographical information
Also Known As

Ursule
The Lark
Mademoiselle Lanoire
Euphrasie

Gender

Female

Eye Color

Blue

Hair color

Brunette (novel)
Blond (film)

Born

1815

Family

Félix Tholomyès (father)
Fantine (mother)
Jean Valjean (adopted father)

Relationships

Marius Pontmercy (husband)

Behind the scenes
Portrayer

see list

Cosette is the main deuteragonist in the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. She is the illegitimate daughter of Fantine and Félix Tholomyès. Her birth name is Euphrasie but she is referred to throughout her life as "Cosette." As a small child, she is left with the Thénardiers and their children, who horribly abuse her while indulging their own young daughters, Éponine and Azelma.  On Christmas of 1823, Cosette is adopted (and saved) by Jean Valjean. Later she grows into a beautiful teenager and marries Marius Pontmercy near the end of the story. She is also one of the few characters to have survived the entire course of the novel and musical.

NovelEdit

Cosette was born in 1815 to Fantine and Félix Tholomyès.

Childhood in MontfermeilEdit

As a toddler, Cosette's mother Fantine left her with the Thénardiers and gave them money to look after her. Éponine and Azelma once played with Cosette when they first met as toddlers, but they become cruel to her after following their parents' example of abusing her. They are unkind to her and tease her and at times ignore her completely. Monsieur and Madame Thénardier themselves mistreat Cosette, and force her to do all the work around the inn - sweeping the floors, scrubbing the tables, etc. Cosette is forced to dress in rags and go about with no shoes even in the snow.

While Fantine is in the hospital, Jean Valjean (by then known as Monsieur Madeleine) promises her to get and retrieve Cosette for her, but Fantine dies before she sees her beloved daughter again. However, Valjean is determined to find and adopt Cosette.

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Cosette as a child in Montfermeil

On Christmas Eve of 1823, as Cosette goes to the woods to fetch a pail of water, Valjean sees her. He helps her and accompanies her back in the inn. He sees how Éponine and Azelma are unkind to her, when they go to their mother and point at Cosette for "stealing" their doll. After seeing this, he leaves the inn for a while to buys a brand new expensive doll that cost about 30 Francs - a princely sum. Later that night, Cosette naively places her wooden shoe before the fireplace next to Éponine and Azelma's shoes in expectation of receiving something from Father Christmas, though she knows that Father Christmas always ignores her. Valjean anonymously places a gold Louis coin in her shoe.

On Christmas Day, Valjean informs the Thénardiers that the real reason he is at the inn is because he wants to take Cosette with him. Mme. Thénardier immediately agrees to this, but M. Thénardier pretends to have adoration for Cosette and acts reluctant to give her up. Valjean then offers them 1,500 francs, settling all of Fantine's debts, and he and Cosette leave the inn. However, Thénardier tries to swindle more money out of Valjean by running after them and telling Valjean that he has changed his mind and how he does not want to give Cosette away. He informs Valjean that Cosette's mother had entrusted her to their care and that he cannot release Cosette to a stranger without a note from her mother. Valjean, agreeing with him, hands him a letter signed by Fantine. Thénardier then attempts to order Valjean to either return Cosette or pay a thousand crowns, but Valjean ignores him and leaves with Cosette.

Life after the ThénardiersEdit

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Valjean takes Cosette away from her life of misery

Valjean takes Cosette directly to Paris. They lodge at Gorbeau House, and Valjean begins giving her a basic education. When Javert discovers Valjean's whereabouts, Valjean and Cosette are forced to escape. After climbing over a wall, they soon find themselves in the Petit-Picpus Convent. The gardener Fauchelevent, who was once rescued by Valjean in Montreuil-sur-Mer, recognizes "Monsieur Madeleine" and is eager to help him. Valjean poses as Fauchelevent's brother, assuming that name for Cosette and himself, and the two live peacefully in the convent for many years. Valjean works with Fauchelevent while Cosette is educated. Over time, she appears to have no recollection of her childhood before arriving at the convent. She leaves the convent at the age of fifteen. It is here Cosette receives her unofficial surname. Her original surname is Tholomyès.

Relationship with MariusEdit

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Cosette's love for Marius is deep

Cosette and Marius first meet at Luxembourg Gardens. Now Cosette is very beautiful, with chestnut (châtain) hair and blue eyes. Both Marius and Cosette fall in love with each other when their eyes meet (although this only happens after constantly seeing each other over the course of several months). When Valjean takes notice of Marius’ affections, he sees Marius as a coward for not confronting him and seeking approval to court her. He also fears losing Cosette, who has become the source of his happiness, to Marius. After Marius discovers their address, Valjean then takes Cosette away from the Luxembourg Gardens and moves to another house, in which he thought Marius was a hired spy by Javert.


Marius spots Cosette again during a charitable visit she and Valjean make to the Thénardiers at Gorbeau House, directly next door to Marius. He asks Éponine to find her new address for him, and she reluctantly agrees. After many weeks, Éponine takes Marius to Cosette’s new home. Marius idly watches Cosette for a few nights before approaching her. When Cosette and Marius finally meet again in Cosette's garden, they confess their love for each other and spend the rest of their lives together.

Life after ValjeanEdit

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Marius and Cosette at Valjean's deathbed

Marius and Cosette get married. The next morning, Valjean tells Marius of his criminal history. This leads Marius to believe Valjean is dangerous, and asks him to leave him and Cosette. Valjean wishes not to be permanently separated from Cosette, so Marius grants him a visit every evening. But slowly, he makes it clear that Valjean is not wanted in the house, so Valjean leaves and never comes back. When Marius finds out through M. Thénardier that Valjean had saved him, Marius and Cosette go to Valjean, now on his deathbed. Valjean then shares the last minutes of his life with Marius and Cosette, while Cosette learns from Valjean about her past and her mother Fantine.

MusicalEdit

Act I

ChildEdit

AdolescentEdit

Act IIEdit

TriviaEdit

  • "Cosette" in French means "little thing" while Euphrasie means "mirth."
  • Polish forms of her names are: "Kozeta" (Cosette) and "Eufrazja" (Euphrasie)
  • The original French version of the Lark is "l'Alouette."

GalleryEdit

MusicalEdit

Edit

2012 FilmEdit

Other films and IllustrationsEdit

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