21 December 2012
Madame Defarge in the novel Tale of Two Cities is a piece of work. If anyone has a right to be upset about the abuses that the aristocracy puts upon the commoners, she’s the person. Her sister was raped and killed by the Evermontes, her brother was mortally wounded defending his sister’s honor, and their father died of grief; not the best childhood. In her eyes this entire tragedy and heart ache is because of the nobles. It’s completely understandable that she’d want to play a big part in the revolutionary attempts to overthrow the power of the aristocracy.
Charles Dickens, the author of the book, presents Madame Defarge to the reader as a ruthless, cold-hearted killer. He doesn’t let the little secret out about Madame Defarge until the final twists and turns of the novel when she has already turned into a monster. Madame Defarge goes as far as to say to her husband, "Tell wind and fire where to stop, but don't tell me!" (3.12.330) What started as revenge, flamed into a true hatred and desire to kill all nobles, and everybody who opposed the revolution, without any discretion.
During the storming of the Bastille Madame Defarge takes charge of the women saying, "To me, women! What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!"(2.21.246) She has no boundaries and no fear. The meeting between Lucie and Madame Defarge makes it absolutely clear that she has lost all ability to feel sympathy or empathy. Lucie falls on her knees, begging for mercy on behalf of her child. Madame Defarge stares at her coldly, and doesn’t even stop knitting. Her problem, it seems, is she just doesn’t know where to draw the line. As far as she’s concerned, justice for the fate of her family isn’t just that the Marquis gets murdered. Justice should, include the extermination of the entire Marquis’ family. If she had her way, Charles, Lucie, and even little Lucie would fall under the sharp blade of the...