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50 Timeless Quotes From Les Misérables

50 Timeless Quotes From Les Misérables
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Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a timeless epic of love, loss, and revolution. Set during the French Revolution, this tale depicts the vast suffering of France’s lower classes, and highlights a former prisoner’s attempts to bring love and justice back into daily life.

Though the book is worth reading, the musical is what really brought out the story’s depth and stole our hearts. It’s subsequent films have helped solidify Les Mis as a masterpiece of artistic creation. Here are just a few timeless lines from the book, musical, and films.

Love

1. “Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is this way that love begins, and in this way only.” – Victor Hugo, book

2. “To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing more.” – Victor Hugo, book

3. “The silver in my hand costs twice what I had earned in all those nineteen years, that lifetime of despair, and yet he trusted me.” – Jean Valjean, musical

4. “You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love is to love by it.” – Victor Hugo, book

5. “Life’s great happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” – Victor Hugo, book

6. “Yet why did I allow that man to touch my soul and teach me love? He treated me like any other, he gave me his trust, he called me brother.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

7. “She did not ask him; did not even think where and how he had managed to get into the garden. It seemed so natural to her that he should be there…When they had finished, when they had told each other everything, she laid her head on his shoulder, and asked him: ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Marius,’ he said. ‘And yours?’ ‘My name is Cosette.’” – Victor Hugo, book

8. “Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.” – Victor Hugo, book

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9. “To die for lack of love is horrible. The asphyxia of the soul.” – Victor Hugo, book

10. “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again, and great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves, and even loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo, book

11. “And remember, the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.” – Victor Hugo, book; Fantine, Jean Valjean & Eponine, musical & film

12. “Love almost replaces thought. Love is a burning forgetfulness of everything else.” – Victor Hugo, book

13. “If no one loved, the sun would go out.” – Victor Hugo, book

Suffering

14. “There is a point at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confounded in a single word, a fatal word, Les Misérables.” – Victor Hugo, book

15. “People weighed down with troubles do not look back; they know only too well that misfortune stalks them.” – Victor Hugo, book

16. “Look down, look down, don’t look them in the eye. Look down, look down, you’re here until you die. Look down, look down, Sweet Jesus hear my prayer. Look down, look down, Sweet Jesus doesn’t care.” – Jean Valjean & prisoners, musical & film

17. “They gave me a number and they murdered Valjean.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

18. “At the end of the day you’re another day older, and that’s all you can say for the life of the poor.” – Poor extras, musical & film

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19. “There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.” – Victor Hugo, book

20. “I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die. I dreamed that God would be forgiving… But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder, as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame! … But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms we cannot weather! I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living. So different now than what it seemed. Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.” – Fantine, musical & film

21. “There is a castle on a cloud. I like to go there in my sleep. Aren’t any floors for me to sweep, not in my castle on a cloud. There is a room that’s full of toys. There are 100 boys and girls. Nobody shouts or talks too loud. Not on my castle on a cloud.” – Cosette (young), musical & film

22. “Now prisoner 24601, your time is up and your parole’s begun. You know what that means?” “Yes, it means I’m free.” “No. Follow to the letter your itinerary, this badge of shame you wear until you die. It warns that you’re a dangerous man.” “I stole a loaf of bread. My sister’s child was close to death, and we were starving.” – Javert & Jean Valjean, film

23. “Oh, my friends! My friends, don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for! Empty chairs at empty tables, where my friends shall sing no more.” – Marius, musical & film

24. “If there’s a God in heaven, He would let me die instead.” – Fantine, musical & film

25. “Despair is surrounded by fragile walls, which all open into vice or crime.” – Victor Hugo, book

Hope

26. “The day begins and now let’s see what this new world will do for me.” – Jean Valjean, book, musical & film

27. “Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.” – Victor Hugo, book

28. “‘The most beautiful of altars,’ he said, ‘is the soul of an unhappy creature consoled and thanking God.'” – Victor Hugo quoting the Bishop, book

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29. “I am reaching, but I fall, and the night is closing in, as I stare into the void, into the whirlpool of my sin. I’ll escape now from the world, from the world of Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

30. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo, book; Cast, musical & film

31. “There is nothing like a dream to create future.” – Victor Hugo, book

32. “Red, the blood of angry men. Black, the dark of ages past. Red, a world about to dawn. Black, the night that ends at last!” – Enjolras, Marius & revolutionaries, musical & film

33. “Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again. When the beating of your heart echoes the beating the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!” – Enjolras, Marius & revolutionaries, musical & film

34. “Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!” – Revolutionaries, musical & film

35. “Citizens, in the future there shall be neither darkness nor thunderbolts, neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood…In the future no man will slay his fellow, the earth will be radiant, the human race will love. It will come, citizens, that day when all shall be concord, harmony, light, joy, and life.” – Enjolras, book

36. “In all his trials he felt encouraged and sometimes even upheld by a secret force within. The soul helps the body, and at certain moments raises it. It is the only bird that sustains its cage.” – Victor Hugo, book

Philosophy

37. “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” – Victor Hugo, book

38. “Not being heard is no reason for silence.” – Victor Hugo, book

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39. “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned!” – Jean Valjean, book, musical & film

40. “If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.” – Victor Hugo, book

41. “My life he claims for God above. Can such things be? For I had come to hate the world, this world that always hated me.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

42. “The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.” – Victor Hugo, book

43. “Before him he saw two roads, both equally straight; but he did see two; and that terrified him – he who had never in his life known anything but one straight line. And, bitter anguish, these two roads were contradictory.” – Victor Hugo, book

44. “Nobody knows like a woman how to say things that are both sweet and profound. Sweetness and depth, this is all of woman; this is Heaven.” – Victor Hugo, book

45. “The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.” – Victor Hugo, book

46. “Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.” – Victor Hugo, book

47. “If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow.” – Victor Hugo, book

48. “To owe life to a malefactor . . . to be, in spite of himself, on a level with a fugitive from justice . . . to betray society in order to be true to his own conscience; that all these absurdities . . . should accumulate on himself – this is what prostrated him.” – Victor Hugo, book

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49. “Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?” – Victor Hugo, book

50. “Great perils share this beauty that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.” – Victor Hugo, book

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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