For instance, could inspector Javert in "Les Miserables" have avoided his dilemma by asking for Jean Valjean to be pardoned by the French king and/or government?

Would the king and/or government have had that power in 1832 France?

Javert's Dilemma

Javert [...] is caught between his strict belief in the law and the mercy Valjean has shown him. He feels he can no longer give Valjean up to the authorities but also cannot ignore his duty to the law. Unable to cope with this dilemma, Javert commits suicide by throwing himself into the Seine.


  • I'm confused if this is on topic, however it adds a lot of context in a single (first) sentence.
    – Ziezi
    Oct 30 '16 at 10:56
  • Please revise the question to make it clear who the individuals are, when they lived and what government ruled France.
    – MCW
    Oct 30 '16 at 11:18
  • 3
    I took the liberty to add a quote from wiki to explain the dilemma. Oct 30 '16 at 12:34

Yes. France's Head of State traditionally has had the power to pardon.

It was abolished for a short while during the Revolution, only to be reintroduced during the Consulate a few years later.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grâce_(droit_français) (in French)

  • It was nonetheless very rare
    – LamaDelRay
    May 15 '19 at 12:35

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