Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 22 May 1885) is one of the titans of French Literature, as well a prominent politician and activist of the 19th century.
He witnessed all the revolutions France went through in the 19th century, which fuelled his sympathy for the common folk (showcased in Les Misérables) and hatred of autocracy. He served in several constitutional and legislative assemblies under two republics (those established after, respectively, the Revolution of 1848 and the Franco-Prussian War), and openly and loudly despised the Second Empire of Napoleon III, which got him exiled to the Channel Islands for some time.
Hugo's political fights included the reduction of poverty and education for the masses. He was also a staunch advocate for the abolition of death penalty (which eventually happened in France just a little under a century after his passing).
Works by Victor Hugo with their own trope pages include:
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- The King Amuses Himself
- The Last Day of a Condemned Man
- The Man Who Laughs
- Les Misérables
Other works by Victor Hugo provide examples of:
- Author Tract:
- He showcased his fight for the abolition of death penalty in some of his works such as The Last Day of a Condemned Man and Claude Gueux.
- Les Châtiments is a huge Take That! against French emperor Napoleon III, whom he despised along with his regime, constantly comparing him negatively to his uncle (whose legend Hugo contributed to propagate).
- Cain: The poem "La Conscience" (1853, part of the La Legende des siecles collection) tells of Cain and his family fleeing from God's wrath.
- Ermine Cape Effect: The play Ruy Blas was criticized for having the Queen in full regalia when she confessed her love to the eponymous character. Since it was a climax, he got away by invoking the Rule of Cool.
- Giant Eye of Doom: In the poem "The Conscience", Cain is followed everywhere by an eye.
- Historical Domain Character: Lucrezia Borgia, and many others.
- In Memoriam: His 1856 poems anthology The Contemplations is dedicated to his daughter Léopoldine, who tragically drowned at the age of 19.
- The Musical: The King amuses Himself served as the basis of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto.
- Nasty Party: Lucrezia Borgia.
- Older Than Radio: In his his preface to Cromwell (a preface to his early play Cromwell), Hugo, by then 25 years of age, showed himself as an excellent troper. In 53 pages, he described a lot of tropes in literature and theatre to be found during his time, and all the way back to Homer.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: More on the cynical end especially in atmosphere in tone, even if there are kind and sympathetic characters.