He thinks that man is me
He knew him at a glance!
That stranger he has found
This man could be my chance!

Why should I save his hide?
Why should I right this wrong
When I have come so far
And struggled for so long?

If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!

I am the master of hundreds of workers.
They all look to me.
How can I abandon them?
How would they live
If I am not free?

If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!

Who am I?
Can I condemn this man to slavery
Pretend I do not feel his agony
This innocent who bears my face
Who goes to judgement in my place
Who am I?
Can I conceal myself for evermore?
Pretend I'm not the man I was before?
And must my name until I die
Be no more than an alibi?
Must I lie?
How can I ever face my fellow men?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on

[He appears in front of the court]

Who am I? Who am I?
I am Jean Valjean!

[He unbuttons his shirt to reveal the number tattooed to his chest]

And so Javert, you see it's true
That man bears no more guilt than you!
Who am I?

Lyrics submitted by fallacies

Who Am I? song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentValjean is given the chance to live a free life by allowing an innocent man the court believes to be Valjean to go to prison. He decides to reveal himself in court, renewing Javert's persuit of him.
    pilate713on February 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song, another fave. I have always loved it.
    blackxhearton October 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone of my favorite anime voice actors played Jean Valjean on the London stage... Jamie McGonnigal. Watch for him. His voice when he sang this song broke my heart. *sigh* and then he did the final bit for an outtake on Knight Hunters ("Who am I? Who am I? 24601!!")
    Yufferson August 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSometimes when I listen to this song, I fast forward it to after he says "I am damned," for the second time. Then, I always rewind when he says "I'm Jean Valjean," and "24601." It's so amazing.
    amersami32on March 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is a song of self announcement, realization, and acutalization. Many of us live a lie and finally have to admit that we are not what we have been saying we are. Do we continue with the lie that hurts us, but saves others or do we reveal our true selves. To live we must finally reveal our true selves as God created us. We are all 24601.
    mscon March 19, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top