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Fantine
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Biographical information
Gender

Female

Eye Color

Blue (novel)
Brown (2012 film)

Hair color

Blonde (novel)
Brunette (2012 film)

Born

1796
Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais, First French Republic

Died

February, 1823 (aged 27)
Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais, Bourbon Kingdom of France

Cause of Death

Tuberculosis/shock

Family

Euphrasie (daughter)
unknown name (father)
unknown name (mother)
Other
Marius Pontmercy (son-in-law)

Relationships

Félix Tholomyès (lover ; previously)

Job

Prostitute
Needlewoman (formerly)
Factory worker (formerly)

Behind the scenes
Portrayer

see list

Fantine is the tritagonist in the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. She is a grisette (a young working-class French woman) who is the mother of Euphrasie known throughout the film as Cosette.

Novel[]

Fantine was born in Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1796, but her parents are unknown even to her. In fact, the name "Fantine" was given to her by a random passer-by who encountered her when she was a child, and she assumed it. When she turned 15 in 1811, she went to Paris to seek her fortune. By then, Fantine had blossomed into a truly beautiful young woman with blonde hair and fine snowy white teeth.

She is abandoned by her lover, Félix Tholomyès in 1817. Subsequently, she is unable to take care of her daughter, Euphraise (nicknamed 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. Madame Thénardier even sells Cosette's wardrobe for 60 francs in Paris, France. 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 is fired from the factory

After leaving Cosette with the Thénardiers, Fantine is able to find work at Monsieur Madeleine's jet bead factory, and, being illiterate aside from being able to write her own name, has other people write her letters to the Thénardiers. The letter-writer reveals while drunk to whom Fantine writes, and a suspicious widow called Madame Virturnien goes to confirm the rumors. This information finds its way to the supervisor of the women's workshop, who then dismisses Fantine with minimal input from Mayor Madeleine, as having children yet being unmarried was highly scandalous at the time. Fantine is given fifty francs as compensation and sent on her way.

Fantine finds a new job sewing shirts for soldiers, but it does not pay as much as the factory did. To meet repeated demands for money from the Thénardiers, she sells her hair, then her front teeth, and is finally forced to become a prostitute. In the beginning of this period of time, she has a friend in Marguerite, but soon after selling her hair she is forced to move into the attic of her building, and Marguerite is never mentioned again.

Over time, she becomes fatally ill with tuberculosis. Valjean learns of her situation when Inspector Javert arrests her for attacking a man called Bamatabois 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, her illness has made her so weak that 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). After Valjean's escape, Fantine is buried in a mass grave.

Physical Appearance[]

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". However, as she gradually sank into poverty, she was forced to sell her hair and her two front teeth to pay what the Thénardiers said is for Cosette's medicine and clothing.

Trivia[]

  • Fantine is the name of the first part of the novel Les Miserables
  • The 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 Simplice 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.
  • Fantine doesn't know how to write, but she occasionally teaches herself how.
  • Fantine sang On My Own in the original version of Les Mis (French version) but the song was later decided it fit Eponine in the British version.

Musical[]

Act I[]

Act II[]

External Links[]

Gallery[]

Musical[]

2012 Film[]

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1998 Movie[]


2018 mini series[]

2000 Mini Series[]

Other Films[]

Shoujo Cosette

[]

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