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A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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How can Mrs. Defarge be known as a symbol of the Revolution?

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Madame Defarge is the symbol of the evils brought forth by the French Revolution. Her entire family was destroyed by the St. Evremonde clan; her sister was raped by the Marquis St. Evremonde—Charles Darnay's uncle—and her brother died at the aristocrat's hands. Because of this tragedy, Defarge has conceived an intense hatred for the St. Evremondes, including Charles Darnay himself, as well as the rest of the aristocratic class. Madame Defarge plots the downfall of the St. Evremondes and other aristocrats with almost infinite patience, working the names of those whom she hates into her knitting. She plots Darnay's arrest in 1792 and the eventual deaths of his entire family, demonstrating the depths of her hatred. Madame Defarge represents the uncontrollable forces of the French Revolution. She is killed in a struggle with Miss Pross, Lucie's nurse, when her pistol goes off accidentally.

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