Victor Hugo is a French Romanticist poet. He has written numerous dramatic plays, books, and romantic poems. His poetry is best known and appreciated in France. In France Hugo is haled as the leader of the French Romanticism Movement. Victor Hugos poems Once More to Thee and Regret reflect Hugos remorse and wish for happiness as a result of his uncaring and adulterous actions.
At a young age Victor Hugo married a young women named Adle. Their young love turned sour when a critic fell in love with Adele and Hugo used it to blackmail him into giving wonderful reviews of Hugos newest poems and to promote his dramas and books with tons of publicity and articles on them (Ionesco 25-26). Hugo proceeded to forbid Adle to leave the house and considered it okay for him to cheat on her for the rest of his life (Ionesco 26).Hugo had a twisted sense of love as is seen in this quote from the Hugoliad, His wife Adele he neglects completely using her only to arrange his theatrical success. Absorbed as he was in his literary glory and Juliette Drouet he refuses to notice that Sainte-Beuve is falling in love with his wife. He refuses to notice it even when Sainte-Beuve intimates it to him (Ionesco 25). Hugo carried on an affair with Juliette Drouet for over 50 years to the knowledge and in sight of his wife, Adele (Victor Hugo 732).
Victor Hugos family influenced many of his early poems. When Hugo was in his early teens his mother forced poetry on him (Ionesco 13). During a grave illness Hugo stayed with his mother and she requested that he write a poem, when the poem was completed she promptly stopped dying. Things that occurred in his family often
influenced his works. The conflicts between his loyalist mother and his Bonaparte father strongly influenced many of his poems (Houston 1). His early works were also influenced by the comradery and the sometimes rivalry between him and his two brothers (Houston 1).
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Victor Hugo was born in the year of our lord 1802 (Victor Hugo 732). He was born in a small French town known as Bescancon (Victor Hugo 732-733). Victor Hugos father was General Count Lopold Sigisbert Hugo (Ionesco 11).
Eugene Ionesco said this about the General Victor Hugos father was a sort of rough and simple trooper, sufficiently devoid of scruples to abandon his wife and very young children. Infatuated with a bogus Spanish countess, he went and set himself up in Spain, where he governed a province in the name of Napoleon I (11). Victor Hugos mother packed up herself and her children and left for Spain to try and take her husband back from this fake countess (Ionesco 11). Sophie failed in her endeavor to win back her husband, so she fled back to Paris and replaced General Count Lopold Sigisbert Hugo with another man (Ionesco 11). She replaced him with a man in good favor with Napoleon, General Lahorie (Ionesco 11). After obtaining Lahories love Sophie did not neglect Victor in the least, in fact she began to guide his life once more, she forced him to turn away from the study of Polytechnic which he was well suited to with his low intelligence and strong work ethic (Ionesco 12).
Victor Hugos poems were strongly influenced by his adultery. After he believed his wife had betrayed him his work had a strong melancholy tone (Victor Hugo2 165).
Ionesco speaks often of this effect on Hugos poems Hugos poems spoke only of goodness and forgiving but his life was anything but. He showed nothing but the opposites of what he spoke of in his poems (26).
Victor Hugos early literary understanding came from his father. Lopold Hugo was dominated by a crude sensuality, he nevertheless had a sort of flair that we might call literary, though totally lacking in taste or discretion, a flair inherited and amplified by Victor Hugo to proportions we well know (Ionesco 12). Hugo had a falling out with his father when he felt that he had abandoned him and his mother for a fling with a Spanish countess. Hugo reconciled with his father before he died in the year 1828. This relationship served to balance the loyalist fervor that he received from his mother. In the years of 1829 to 1833 Hugos work was erratic due to severe emotional difficulties (Victor Hugo 733). He received the literary ability from his biological father, however his stepfather General Lahorie gave him the means to express himself, he taught him to read and write. Hugos mother affected his poetry more than anyone else due to the fact that without her he would never have written any poetry in the first place. After his mothers death in 1821 Hugos poetry became more royalist in nature (734). This earned him a royal pension and a place in the Legion of Honor (734).
Hugos poetry is best defined by this quote,
Victor Hugos poetry took many forms, from lyric to the epic to the
elegiac. Along with this variety of forms, the range of the poets ideas
expanded during his long career. From poems with political overtones,
Hugos poetry grew to exhibit tenets of romanticism. He wrote of more
personal and intimate subjects such as family and love. He also wrote about
mans relationship with the Creator. As Hugo matured, his themes became
more philosophical and humanitarian and his self-appointed role became
that of a poet-seer attempting to understand the mysteries of life and of
creation. (Victor Hugo 732)
Hugos poetry often showed a wish for the revival of dead gods and the beauty they stood for (Victor Hugo 2 164) Victor Hugo once said I believe in God far more than myself .. I am more certain about the existence of God than myself (161). The form of Hugos poetry was far more surprising than the content, he used alternative forms of verse instead of the common form of the day Classical Alexandrine. He used forms of verification such as octosyllabic lines. As his work progressed it began to show more philosophical intent (Victor Hugo 735)
The poem Regret by Victor Hugo shows the melancholy attitude that was common in much of his work after what he saw as his wifes betrayal. This is expressed in the line Are we, with many a grief to others known. This poem also expresses the mourning after his fathers death in the line of that we mourn always. The poem Once More to Thee reflects Hugos conviction in the fact that God exists. This is shown in the line A virgin pure, to heaven thy soul brings. This poem also displays Hugos melancholy attitude in the line When on my sorrows though hast shed thy light.
The poem Regret relates to Hugos life in many ways. The poem shows his regret at his wifes betrayal and his own slight regret that he is carrying on an affair in revenge for what he believed that his wife had done wrong. Regret also reflects his life through the fact that it speaks of tender recollections referring to his mothers love for him and it says that they are cherished long, this refers to his mothers death and how it affected Hugo and how he thought often of her.
Once More to Thee also reflects his life. It contains references to God and show Hugos solid belief in God. This is shown in the lines I seen to touch the temples sacred veil and And say with Tobit to the Angel, Hail. Once More to Thee also refers to his mother. This is shown in the line For all her days belong, O Lord, to thee.
Regret and Once More to Thee parallel in many ways. They both reference to Hugos sense of loss at his mothers death and they both refer to the perceived betrayal of his wife. They both contain references to God and holy objects. They both refer to multiple people, not objects or places, and their emotions.