Javert, a police inspector, is Valjean's enemy who pursues
him relentlessly after he escapes. He is not a "good guy"
however. His kind of justice is to punish with vengeance.
Javert discovers Valjean's true identity only because Valjean
confesses it to Javert. Another man, Champmathieu, is accused of
being the escaped prisoner, Valjean, and will be executed if
Valjean doesn't speak up. Valjean spends a long night trying to
decide whether to save himself or an innocent man. His inner
struggle describes why he decides to save Champmathieu.
To deliver himself up, to save this man stricken by so ghastly a
mistake, to reassume his name, to become again from duty the
convict Jean Valjean, that was really to achieve his resurrection,
and to close forever the hell from whence he had emerged! to fall
into it in appearance, was to emerge in reality! he must do that!
all he had done was nothing, if he did not do that! all his life
was useless, all his suffering was lost.
After Javert arrests him, Valjean escapes, and Javert begins his
fanatical hunt for him.