A Tale of Two Cities: Madame Defarge - 1

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Madame Defarge Character Study

In Charles Dicken’s masterly crafted novel A Tale of Two Cities, the book would surely be missing a crucial link that bounds the characters and plots under fear and redemption, if it were not for his brilliance in Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge is famous for her venomous, pernicious, and indomitable personality that gives the novel a jump in its own skin and a thrilling shiver in realizing how a brutal yet cherished woman she is. Like a snake, Madame Defarge stalks out her prey, and waits, simply waits, until the precise time of striking that would make for a great fall. “Tell me how long it takes to prepare the earthquake?...But when it is ready, it takes place, and grinds to pieces everything before it. In the meantime, it is always preparing, though it is not seen or heard. That is your consolation. Keep it.” (Page 219) Within this anticipation, her venom and muscles only get stronger, and soon, her victims are powerless under her constricting coils tightly woven by her own hands. Along with her venomous ways that only seem to spread, her pernicious side is always on the prowl for any target that crosses her path. Such as in the case of meeting Barsad, with the new information and registry of Charles Darnay, whose actual last name is D’aulnais, revealing his true character. While Monsieur Defarge shows sympathy towards Lucie and Dr. Manette for the loss they will soon face, Madame Defarge is collected and brusquely says, “Stranger things than that will happen when it does come…I have them both here, of a certainty; and they are both here for their merits; that is enough.” (Page 227) Not only does she not let her emotions stray her away, she has a call for blood at her fingertips as she continuously knits away her registry.

And lastly, but certainly not the least, Madame Defarge is indomitable and infallible with her strategic ways of manipulating and scheming. She herself is the sole leader of the revolution, with the...
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