The song “Stars” from the musicale Les Miserables is sung by Inspector Javert near the end of Act I when he realized that it was Jean Valjean whom he had helped escape from the group of Thenardier. Inspector Javert is a rather curious character. A good characterization of him is well laid-out in the novel. However, in the musicale version, only snippets of Javert’s personality can be gleamed when observed carefully.
“Stars” may not be one of the internationally renowned songs from musicale like “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own”, but it offers a good insight into the way Inspector Javert sees himself as a law-enforcement agent, law-breakers like Jean Valjean, and his obsession, bordering on madness, in the pursuit of law-breakers, especially Jean Valjean, to face justice.
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Javert’s sees himself as one of the stars, “filling the darkness with order and light …sentinels, silent and sure, keeping watch in the night.
” He sees himself as an unobtrusive individual in society keeping the order and standing as a vanguard of peace always on the watch.
He is always there to maintain the peace in society. He believes that each of us, like the stars, knows his proper place and function in society and those who stray from their fixed and sure paths, law-breakers and fugitives, “must pay the price” and face justice. Law-breakers are stars that have lost their way, men who have deviated from their roles in society. They flee in the dark for they are out of graces in the eyes of God, according to Javert.
As a sacred duty, Javert has taken it into himself, swearing by the stars, that he would not rest until these fugitives are brought to face justice. This duty is his role in society; his course and aim in the skies as one of the stars, “and so it must be, for so it is written. ” If we follow Javert’s philosophy that all men in society are but stars with fixed path in the skies and those stars that fall from their paths “fall in flame,” this same philosophy gives us an idea of how hard Javert could be even to himself.
If and when Javert, as a star in the sky, deviates from his fixed path he, as well, must pay the price. This insight into the thinking of Javert’s gives as a dark foreboding of what may happen in case he fails in his pursuit of Jean Valjean (as the case would be in Act II). Javert may not be one of the most amiable characters in the musicale Les Miserables but he gives us a good picture of a segment of our society today. People who tend to be fanatical and rigid in their views are epitomized by Javert. I am not a good authority to pass judgment on people like Javert.
To some extents I agree with Javert that each of us has a role in society and when we falter we should pay the consequences. But I do not agree in the rigid application of justice as espoused by Javert. I believe that when a person commits a wrong we must temper our judgment by hearing out the reasons of the offender, assuming good-naturedly that he committed such offense unintentionally. I believe in justice with compassion. Justice, after all, has always been depicted as a lady blindfolded so that she may hear and weight with her heart the arguments laid before her.