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It could be argued that Sade, from the very beginning, only intended to write a book to deliberately offend nearly everyone in some way.
He wrote in the story itself that it is "the most impure tale to be told since the world began", and while the victims waste no time in showing the villain protagonists for what they really are, keep in mind that the villains are the ones who win through and through.
From the beginning, the victims have no chance. That's the entire point of the book. The victims are complainers who don't understand the villains' logic, and just like in any Mary Sue story, are portrayed as wrong for it. Thus, Sade wrote to offend while deviating from the traditional plot progression and without much care to make the story any good, only caring that it was offensive.
Remember also that his ultimate philosophy was to enjoy yourself at no matter whose expense; he devoted an entire work - Philosophy in the Bedroom - to arguing that any crime undertaken for pleasure, including murder, should be legal, so if he found anyone actually living as a villain from this story, he would probably applaud them for it and ask to join in.
He had no problem with raping and torturing women in his spare time; one such instance was in fact how he was discovered by French authorities. His works were mainly dedicated to advocating such a lifestyle, making no apology for it nor any attempt to exonerate himself of the charges laid against him whatsoever.
This was written by a user named Background Guy, and it very intelligent and thorough. It probably wasn’t suited for the YMMV page, but hopefully it can find a home in Reviews.
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