I was struck once again (as I always am with this piece) by the sad story of Javert.
A lot of people hate him, when the movie came out last year the net was filled with memes declaring a supreme hatred of Javert in general and I always felt that this failed to understand the core of the characters involved in teh story.
The two principle characters in the story, Jean Valjean and Javert spend decades chasing one another around France until ultimately coming to their finale in Paris where Javert dies and Valjean goes free finally after years of running from the Commissioner.
It is Javert's death which I find particularly tragic.
He is a character of black and white. His world is composed of two extremes, the law and the crime. The latter must be punished by the former no matter the consequences of such or the severity of either.
Valjean by contrast is a character of chaos.
He exists and survives in the gray, breaking the law to help others and protect the things he cares about. It is a world in which Javert cannot exist and fails to understand until the very end when he has the chance finally to end Valjean and lets him go free.
It is this final act that breaks Javert's world and ends in his suicide. His act of kindness, allowing a wanted criminal go free, shatters his concept of right and wrong, law and crime, black and white and he dies from this. Unlike Valjean who can adapt to an infinite number of situations and make do no matter the situation, Javert is static and can never change his ways and stagnates, ultimately he dies because of this.
That to me, is a tragedy and ultimately I sympathize with Javert for his failure to change and the death this brings him whereas I applaud Valjean for his versatility and ability to survive despite everything thrown at him.