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Love is confused with war, with religion, and with illness in the course of Dangerous Liaisons. Compare and contrast two of these metaphors for love. Which characters use them? Why do you think a certain character is or is not prone to the use of this particular metaphor? Which of these metaphors seems more appropriate to describe love to you?
Dangerous Liaisons is primarily a novel about what people say to each other—but is there any place in the novel where what is unsaid seems more important to you than what is said? Where are there moments of silence? Or, where is something left unsaid? How is silence expressed in the writing?
Discuss the different roles played by women and men as writers in Dangerous Liaisons. Is one sex portrayed as more powerful or more skillful than the other? Do women use different techniques to get what they want than men, and vice versa? Using a pair of letters from the correspondence between the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, discuss which aspects of their writing, if any, seem particularly masculine or particularly feminine to you. What are the different ways each uses language to get what he or she wants?
Ace your assignments with our guide to Dangerous Liaisons!