Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel, or Bishop Myriel, is a bishop of Digne. He is a kind and hospitable churchman, who gives shelter to Jean Valjean. In youth, he was a happy, carefree boy, but then he turned into an old patient priest. Even though he had suffered a lot in the past, he became a kind man who puts the interests of others above his personal wishes and tries to help everyone. Besides that, because of his generosity, he is often called Bishop Bienvenu, which translates as Bishop Welcome.
The novel gives a detailed description of a turning point in Myriel’s life when he suddenly realized that he cared about others and wanted to help those in need. At this moment, he understood his calling, and it led him to the church. The kindhearted nature of Bishop Myriel is revealed in his attitude toward Jean Valjean. When Valjean tries to steal his silverware, the bishop rescues him by telling the police that he has given these things to the guest himself. To prove this, he gives Valjean also silver candlesticks. This act of mercy and generosity brings Valjean back to life and restores his trust in people. As a result, Valjean begins a new life based on the principles of honesty and kindness to others.
Another positive trait of Myriel’s character is the fact that even though he is a bishop, he never lets his position and status influence his behavior and attitude to other people. Bishop Myriel is an example of how a person should not judge others but give them the benefit of the doubt. The matter is that no one can be certain in what is out of oneself. For example, when Valjean robs him, bishop Myriel does not accuse and punish but shows him a lesson that changes his life.
Bishop Myriel in the Essays