Victor Hugo And Gueux Victor Hugo’s piece depicting the ill-fated criminal Claude Gueux is a portrayal of a common theme that happens in every day life. Gueux was an honest family man that turned bad due to the environmental factors of Paris, these factors made a rational man into an irrational man. This situation is something that makes and breaks thousands every year; they are forced by their surroundings and lack of opportunities to resort to crime. When confronted with famine and hostile conditions, Gueux was forced to make the decision of letting his family starve or stealing a few essential items in order for the welfare of his family. He choose the latter and was eventually caught and punished for his actions; while his sentence of five years was rather severe.
While in prison, a man who was kind and a good companion befriended him; the warden eventually separated these two. Once again he faced with the choice of letting all that he knew and loved in prison or ratifying the situation. His final action was murdering the warden. This action leads him to his death. This brings the often-disputed psychology question; does the environment we embrace affect our actions? Many will say yes and many will say that every action is done out of choice of the person and cant be blamed on any other factor. My personal view straddles the fence; I believe that we are affected severely by our environment, yet it does not make decisions for us but merely affects them. Gueux was an example of how mankind will do anything to achieve happiness and sustain life. While he did have the option of getting a job and being an honest man, his family did not, they were cold and starving.
He acted rationally according to the situation he was in. His actions in prison however were rash and irrational, in both situations it was the environment and society that made he act in such manner. When placed in certain situations, humans only have a few viable options. If you say that every American has the equal opportunity as the next, you are severely misinformed. From the schools to the legal system, everything is geared towards the satisfaction of the rich. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, this is how it has been for thousands of years and will continue for thousands.
This was the case of Gueux; he was poor and had very little options of keeping his family alive and his happiness in prison.