top-rated free essay

Portrayal of women in a tale of two cities

By scion Jan 19, 2005 351 Words
Charles Dickens portrays women, in A Tail of Two Cities in ways that follow stereotypes of the period. His depictions of strong and strong minded women constantly pair strength with negative personality traits. His depictions of weak or soft women suggest that this characteristic matches a rather passive personality.

One of the women that Dickens portrays as strong but disliked is Madame Defarge. From the beginning of her appearance in the novel, she has been sitting quietly and knitting in the wine-shop; we later find out that it's a list of targets for the revolution. She possesses a remorseless bloodlust; Madame Defarge personifies the chaos of the French Revolution. Her apparent passivity disproves her relentless thirst for vengeance. With her stitches, she secretly knits a register of the names of the revolution's intended victims. As the revolution breaks into full force, Madame Defarge reveals her true viciousness. She adds Lucie and the whole Evremonde family to her register. There is no evidence to why she is so mean. The only explanation is that it results from the oppression and personal tragedy that she has suffered at the hands of the aristocracy.

Lucie is a weak woman. She lets Miss Pross, another woman in the novel, pamper her in everything. Miss Pross doesn't play an important role in the novel. She only foils, or makes Madame Defarge look better.

Lucie is loved my all because she is such a passive character. Lucie was raised by Miss Pross in a section of Tellson's Bank because her parents were assumed dead. Dickens depicts Lucie as an archetype of compassion. Her love has the power to bind her family together--she is often referred to as "the golden thread." In addition, her love has the power to transform those around her. It enables her father to be "recalled to life," and it generates Sydney Carton's transformation from a "jackal" into a hero.

Dicken' portrayals of these two women indicate that during the period in which he wrote, strong and powerful women were reviled and weak, passive women were praised. This stereotype has not, of course entirely disappeared

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • The Role of Women in "A Tale of Two Cities."

    ...Charles Dickens's novel "A Tale of Two Cities" is a story of intricately woven plot lines driven by intriguing characters. The female characters are often primary forces in driving the other players and advancing the plot. It's been said that Dickens uses the women in his story to somewhat questionable ends; some say that he merely uses their wo...

    Read More
  • A Tale of Two Cities- Quotes

    ...A Tale of Two Cities quotes & explanation 1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had e...

    Read More
  • A Tale of Two Cities

    ...Name ___________________________________ Date ___________________ A Tale of Two Cities Class Notes and Study Guide Questions Book I, Chapter 1: "The Period" I. Notes It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredul...

    Read More
  • Tale of Two Cities

    ...Violence and Cruelty Leading to Harsh Rebellion Throughout the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens constantly uses examples of violence and cruelty to show why the French peasants revolted against the aristocracy and to describe the revolt. During the extant of the peasant’s lives before the rebellion they were treated so brutally by...

    Read More
  • Justice in Tale of Two Cities

    ...Kate Partington Mr Wood Accelerated English 11 22 February 2013 Justice is a major theme seen in The Tale of Two Cities and it connects all characters in one way or another. One character in particular, Madame Defarge, links most others together in her crazy quest for justice. In Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, Madame D...

    Read More
  • Tale of Two Cities

    ...English IV Tale of Two Cities Writing Propmts PLOT 1. Charles Dickens opening paragraph to A Tale of Two Cities is arguably one of the most famous to ever be written. Nearly everybody in today’s world has some kind of set of morals whether it is because of religious beliefs or just how a person was raised. Morals and beliefs, these are...

    Read More
  • Vengeance, Vendetta and Vanity: the Women of a Tale of Two Cities

    ...Vengeance, Vendetta and Vanity: The women of A Tale of Two Cities In this world, there are many things that men may possibly never understand. Time travel… gravity transcendence… and over everything, women, to name a few. In Dickens’ novel, we see just how complex (and simple) women can be. In this paper I will be defending J.F. Hamilton...

    Read More
  • A Tale of Two Cities

    ...The Twins of A Tale of Two Cities When people see twins, they would usually assume that they are the same. However, after people get to know them, they will notice the difference in their personalities. Some twins are the exact opposite of each other just like Carton and Darnay. In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the French Revolution...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.