As usual, spoilers.
I honestly don’t know what personality Eponine is. Her mental state is less than stable, which makes it hard. I am inclined to say some sort of xxFJ type, as she tends to make decisions based off her emotions (F trait), and make snap decisions (J trait).
A while ago, I dipped into the Les Miserables fandom a little bit when I talked about Enjolras. Today I’m going to take another look and talk about Eponine.
Eponine has been one of my favorite characters in this monumental story since the first time I saw the movie, and remains one of my favorite characters to this day.
When we first meet Eponine, she’s just a care-free girl who lives in a tavern and inn that her parents own and run. She’s not a sympathetic character at this point, as she honestly comes off as a bit of a spoiled brat. Following the example of her parents, she mistreats and abuses little Cosette.
Nine years later, however, the tables have turned. Eponine is now a poor girl with nothing more than the rags on her back. Cosette is now the beautiful, young daughter of Jean Valjean.
This becomes even bitterer for Eponine, as the man she is in love with, Marius, falls in love with Cosette. Her position is reversed. When she was a child, she had everything she could ever want. Now she can’t even have the one person that brought a tiny sliver of light into her life.
This is illustrated in one of the most poignant scenes in the musical and film. She is starkly alone. Being mistreated by her parents and mostly ignored by her only friend has taken its toll on her heart and mind. She is angry and sad and she wants a bit of light that it seems she will never be able to find and keep. In this scene, she sings one of the most-loved songs from the musical, On My Own.
“In the rain, the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is him and me forever and forever”
Now a lot of people say that this song is the theme song of being in the friendzone. While I agree with this, I also think it’s so much more. In Eponine’s loneliness and despair, Marius came along and brought her out of that pit. I do think that she genuinely loves him, but I also think that Marius is a symbol of light to her in her pain.
When she feels as if she is losing her light, she follows Marius to fight on the barricades and throws herself in front of a gun in order to save him. She sacrifices her life in order to save a man that will never love her. This may be desperate, but it’s brave and true of her. She dies in his arms, radiantly happy, despite the fact that she will never be able to be with him.
Eponine is so brave. She finds a way to look past her bleak surroundings and upbringing and looks into a hopefully brighter future.
What do you think about Eponine? Is she one of your favorite characters in Les Mis too, or do you have another favorite? And also, is it okay that I ship Enjolras and Eponine?