Tale Of Two Cities Charictarization Essay Research — страница 4

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those she’s marked for death, come the revolution. This hobby links her closely with the novel’s theme of fate. By referring to myth, we may interpret her as one of the Fates–the Greek goddesses who first spin the thread of human life, and then cut it off. But it’s not necessary to go beyond the story for other equivalents to Madame Defarge’s fast-moving fingers. Dickens implicitly contrasts her ominous craft with Lucie Manette’s “golden thread,” or blonde hair. Lucie weaves a pattern of love and light, holding her family together, while Madame Defarge never knits a sweater, only death. Occupying relatively little space in the novel, Madame Defarge has nonetheless been called its most memorable character. She and her husband have a curiously modern air. Perhaps

you can imagine the Defarges by picturing today’s guerrilla fighters in embattled underdeveloped countries. Madame Defarge is a professional who knows how to use political indoctrination. On a fieldtrip to Versailles with the little mender of roads she identifies the dressed-up nobility as “dolls and birds.” She’s teaching the mender of roads to recognize his future prey. As you read, try seeing Madame Defarge as neither political force nor mythic figure, but as a human being. Her malignant sense of being wronged by the St. Evremondes turns her almost–but not quite–into a machine of vengeance. Dickens inserts details to humanize her: she is sensitive to cold; when the spy John Barsad enters her shop, she nods with “a stern kind of coquetry”; at the very end of the

book, making tracks for Lucie’s apartment, she strides with “the supple freedom” of a woman who has grown up on the beach. Do you think such “personal” touches make Therese Defarge less terrifying, since she’s so clearly human? Or does she seem more nightmarish, because, violent and vengeful, she’s one of us? -MONSIEUR DEFARGE Keeper of the wine shop in Saint Antoine, leader of the attack on the Bastille, Defarge is a man of divided loyalties. He owes allegiance to 1. Dr. Manette, his old master; 2. the ideals of the Revolution; 3. his wife, Therese. A strong, forceful character with natural authority, Defarge can for a time serve three masters. There’s no conflict of interest between taking in Dr. Manette after his release from the Bastille and furthering the

Revolution. Defarge actually displays his confused charge to members of the Jacquerie–a group of radical peasants–as an object lesson in government evil. Only when Revolutionary fervor surges out of bounds are Defarge’s triple loyalties tested. He refuses to aid Charles Darnay–Dr. Manette’s son-in-law–when Darnay is seized as an aristocrat; by now the orders are coming from Defarge’s bloodthirsty wife. Goaded by Madame, Defarge ends by denouncing Darnay and providing the evidence (ironically, in Dr. Manette’s name) needed to condemn him. Defarge stops just short of denouncing Dr. Manette and Lucie, too, but there are hints from Madame and friends that he’d better start toeing the line. Dickens leaves us with the thought that, finally, Defarge is controlled by a

force more powerful than politics, or even his wife. In Sydney Carton’s last vision, Defarge and Madame Defarge perish by the guillotine. Is it fate, irony, or historic inevitability that kills them? You decide. -MISS PROSS Eccentric, mannish-looking Miss Pross is a type of character familiar to readers of Dickens’ novels. Beneath her wild red hair and outrageous bonnet, she’s as good as gold, a fiercely loyal servant. Dickens places Miss Pross in the plot by means of her long-lost brother. Solomon Pross is revealed to be John Barsad, Old Bailey spy and “sheep of the prisons.” Miss Pross’ two defining characteristics are her devotion to Lucie and Solomon, and her stalwart Britishness. When Madame Defarge marches in, armed, to execute Lucie and her family, Miss Pross

understands the Frenchwoman’s intent–but not a word she says. Miss Pross has refused to learn French. Miss Pross’ blind patriotism and devotion work to her advantage. She’s empowered by love. Mistaking Miss Pross’ tears of resolve for weakness, Madame Defarge moves toward a closed door, and in a heated struggle is shot by her own pistol. A Tale of Two Cities isn’t markedly anti-France or pro-England, but Miss Pross’ victory may strike you as a victory for her country, too. -STRYVER Dickens dislikes Stryver. You may be hard put to find a single lovable feature in this “shouldering” lawyer, who has been “driving and living” ever since his school days with Sydney Carton. Yet the ambitious Stryver–his name a neat summing up of the man–is making his way in