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December 1823 (aged 28)
|Cause of Death||
Félix Tholomyès (lover)
Factory worker; Needlewoman (formerly)
Fantine was born in Montreuil-sur-Mer, in 1797, but it was never revealed as to who her parents were. In fact, the name "Fantine" was given to her by a random passer-by who encountered her when she was a very small child, and she just accepted it, and went by that name from then on. When she was ten-years-old, she left town and went to work for farmers. At the age of fifteen, she went to Paris to seek her fortune. By then, Fantine had blossomed into a truly beautiful young girl with blonde hair and fine white teeth.
She is abandoned by her lover, Félix Tholomyès, when she is twenty. Subsequently, she is unable to take care of her daughter, Cosette. In 1818, when Cosette is "nearly three", Fantine leaves her in the care of the Thénardiers, who are innkeepers in a village called Montfermeil. Unfortunately, Madame Thénardier spoils her own daughters, Éponine and Azelma, while abusing and overworking Cosette. Meanwhile the Thénardiers continue to send Fantine letters claiming that Cosette is being well-treated, but that she is always ill and requires money to be treated. Fantine falls for their tricks and continues to send money, which the Thénardiers use for their own interest and to further indulge their own children.Fantine finds work at Monsieur Madeleine's factory, and, being illiterate aside from being able to write her own name, has other people write her letters to the Thénardiers. In 1822, a female supervisor who discovers that she has an illegitimate child fires her, as having children yet being unmarried was highly scandalous at the time.
To meet repeated demands for money from the Thénardiers, she sells her hair, then her two teeth, and is finally forced to become a prostitute.
Over time, she becomes fatally ill with tuberculosis. Valjean learns of her situation when Inspector Javert arrests her for attacking a man who called her insulting names and threw snow down her front, and sends her to a hospital. She spends several weeks in the hospital, delirious and thinking of her daughter. Valjean promises to look after Cosette in her place. Later, when Javert confronts Valjean in her hospital room, because her illness has made her so weak, she dies of shock after Javert reveals that Valjean is really a prisoner and has not brought Cosette to her (after the doctor encouraged that incorrect belief that Valjean's recent absence was because he was bringing her daughter to her).
In the beginning, Fantine was a ravishingly beautiful young girl who could be compared to a Greek Goddess: thick, long, slightly wavy blonde tresses, delicate features, deep blue eyes with long dark eyelashes, rosy lips, splendid white teeth, a statuesque physique, and small arched feet. She was also said to have long, white, and slender fingers. Her two most notable features were her blonde hair and white teeth, to the extent where she was described as having "gold and pearls for her dowry, but the gold was on her hair, and the pearls were in her mouth".
- Polish form of her name is "Fantyna"
- So far, Laurie Beechman and Minako Honda (who was originally going to play Fantine in 2005) are the only musical portrayers of Fantine to pass away.
- Fantine initially hated Valjean due to his foreman sending her away, but was later full of gratitude towards him for his attempts to make amends after learning of her full story, and she even addressed him as a Messenger of God when he assured her on her deathbed that he would care for Cosette.
- Fantine was taken care of by Sister Solstice while she was sick, and though the nuns initially disapproved of her due to her being a prostitute, they later changed their opinion of her when it becomes evident how much she truly loved her daughter.
- Fantine appeared to Valjean as he passed away, praising him for keeping his promise of raising Cosette with love, and told him that she would take him to Heaven.
For more photos of Fantine, click here.