Tale Of Two Cities Women Essay

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Dickens traces the private lives of a group of individuals caught in the cataclysm of the French Revolution. But what we bear in mind about this group is the centrality of women in the narrative. The characters around whom the action revolves are both Paris and London women who provide the moral climate of the group or family throughout the narrative. The women in the novel, provide men with an emotional foundation that causes the men to act for or react against what the women represent.

Lucie Manette and Madame Defrage are the central female characters who ultimately put the revolutionary France and Victorian England against each other. Lucie is a passive character who influences others through who she is rather than by what she
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Childless and merciless, Madame Defarge is the antithesis of Lucie Manette. Both women possess the ability to inspire others, but while Lucie creates and nurtures life, Madame Defarge destroys it. Because her entire family perished when she was a young girl, Madame Defarge wants revenge, not merely on the family that caused the evil but on the entire class from which it came. Her knitting represents both her patience and her urge to retaliate, because she knits the names of her intended victims.

She knits a register of all the oppressors belonging to the ancien régime, dooming them to destruction. Her knitting is an unalterable chronicle, a grim history which records the past in a mysterious female language that only she and her sister-knitters can decipher. It forms an analogue for omniscient narration in the novel, contrasting with Dickens 's apparently more fluid and sympathetic handling of history. The knitted register produces a shock in its implicit linkage of images and emotions normally opposed in Victorian middle-class
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P. 149).

While the handiwork of one promotes violence and destruction, the other toils only to secure peace and domestic harmony. Lucie assumes the existence of a fellow-feeling between herself and Madame Defarge, based on their common gender. She automatically expects Madame Defarge to identify with her joy as a woman. The realisation of her mistake strikes her with 'terror ' and leads to the admission "We are more afraid of you than of these others" which Madame calmly receives as a compliment.(A Tale of two Cities. P. 178).

Madame Defrage can best be described as a female who lacks femininity. Symbolically, Madame Defarge stands for the intensity and bloodthirst behind the Revolution. She embodies in its most absolute form the inevitable release of what Schiller terms the crude, lawless instincts of those repressed politically and
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