FR: l'unique X où + mode

docfish186

New Member
English
Hello. I am wondering why the subjunctive form of devoir is used in this phrase from Victor Hugo's poem, Ce que dit la bouche d’ombre.

L’homme est l’unique point de la création
Où, pour démeurer libre en se faisant meilleure,
L’âme doive oublier sa vie antérieure…


How would it have changed the meaning if the sentence had instead been written as, L’âme doit oublier sa vie antérieure ?
Thank you.
 
  • olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Excellent question! Both "doive" and "doit" are possible. I provide my own personal answer.
    When using "doive" (subjonctif) you emphasize on the whish, the possibility. When using "doit" (indicative) you emphasize on the obligation, necessarity. There can be another (indirect) technical reason to prefer the subjonctive, which I could expose, but I before wait for other reactons.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    When using "doive" (subjonctif) you emphasize on the whish, the possibility. When using "doit" (indicative) you emphasize on the obligation, necessarity.
    I'm afraid I disagree with the above distinction you made. I don't think there is any such emphasis or nuance. The use of one mode or the other doesn't really change the meaning of the sentence. It is more a matter of style and usage than anything else.
     

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    I'am afraid I disagree ;-)
    Consider "The place to be" :
    - [c'est le seul] lieu où l'on doive être ?(??)
    - [c'est le seul] lieu où l'on doit être ?
     

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    OK pour le fait que les deux moes soient possibles. Mais je pense vraiment qu'il y a une nuance. Pour les "?" multiples.. c'est juste que je n'ai pas trouvé de meilleur exemple et que celui-ci me choque un peu l'oreille du fait du hiatus ;-)
     
    Top