Dangerous Liaisons

by: Pierre Ambroise Laclos

Part Four, Exchange Twelve: Letters 125–137

Summary Part Four, Exchange Twelve: Letters 125–137

But the Présidente de Tourvel's devotion to Valmont is religious in nature. She might as well have decided to become a nun. As "the sole center of her thoughts," Valmont guides Tourvel's life like a divinity. His subjugation of religious themes to his own convenience, and his subjugation of Tourvel, is now complete.

There is also much meditation on the roles of the sexes and the nature of love. In fact, the divergent roles of the sexes seem to be defined by their differing reactions to love. Madame de Rosemonde has a very simple definition in Letter One Hundred and Thirty. Indeed, the Marquise de Merteuil seems to agree with Madame de Rosemonde on the absolute difference between the two sexes, for she writes to Valmont (letter 131), "Have you not observed that pleasure, which is undeniably the sole motive force behind the union of the sexes, is nevertheless not enough to form a bond between them?" (Le plaisir, qui est bien en effet l'unique mobile de la réunion des deux sexes, ne suffit pourtant pas pour former une liaison entre eux....) The difference between the sexes is not in question in Dangerous Liaisons: the only question is where, and how, this difference lies.