Function Order: Ne-Ti-Fe-Si

“I have no intention of breaking down her prejudices. I want her to believe in God and virtue and the sanctity of marriage, and still not be able to stop herself. I want the excitement of watching her betray everything that is most important to her.”

– Valmont

Valmont enjoys playing manipulative intellectual games with people, and wants to destroy their ideologies—in the case of Madame de Tourvel, he has decided to seduce a woman well known in society for her piousness, her virtue, and her devotion to her beliefs. He wants her to surrender to him, while still believing in the sanctity of marriage, in good and evil, and in God, because she cannot help herself. And he proves incredibly skilled at getting a ‘read’ on people, including her and Cecile, and in knowing how to intellectually manipulate the situation. He gains access to Cecile’s rooms by pretending to be an innocent man caught up in the middle of her torrid little romantic entanglement, and he appeals to Madame by pretending to be a secretly virtuous man. He convinces her that he is trying to be good for her sake, that her goodness has changed him, and that all he wants from her is her friendship (in exchange for his undying devotion). He often arranges situations to test and disprove her theories about him, speculating on what she is thinking and countering it through direct language or reverent appeals. He’s quite skilled also at seeking to exploit a situation, in dismantling her arguments through logical reasoning, and in remaining detached in all his romantic entanglements. But Isabelle defeats him through his tert-Fe – she intimates that by falling in love, and being infatuated by Madame, he will lose his reputation and public standing as a notorious rake, so he brutally and callously says things he knows will hurt Madame the most, to crush her spirit – and then naively assumes he can win her back again (“that would be my greatest triumph!”). Valmont can appeal to others, and pretend to be good, by calculating what will impress them or get them to like him and using that against them, but he has no real genuine empathy for anyone (he rapes Cecile, blackmails a maid, and callously mistreats Madame).

Enneagram: 8w7 sx/sp

Valmont is all about power and control; he initially refuses to consider seducing Cecile, because “it would be too easy,” so much so he thinks it beneath him – and when he does take her virtue, it’s more a case of him being forceful and persistent than being seductive or pleasant. He  simply refuses to leave until she gives him what he wants, and threatens her with her mother’s disapproval (a poor threat, which she doesn’t realize, since he claims her mother will ‘believe me over you’). He is engaged in a fierce power struggle with Isabelle, over who is dominant in their relationship – and how they will dominate other people. He can use charm and persuasion, but more often than not is brusque, domineering, and blunt, demanding people give him what he wants and informing them if they do not, he will consider that ‘a declaration of war.’ He is a notorious hedonist, whose sexual proclivities have made him infamous, and he has had hundreds of lovers. He enjoys showing other people how unimportant they are to him, and humiliating them, but also feels angry at the thought of being made a fool of. This causes him to forsake the woman he loves, because he’s not emotionally vulnerable enough to admit to his true feelings.