How are Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge different in A Tale of Two Cities?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although neither Lucie Manette nor Madame Defarge are well-developed as characters in themselves, both are symbols of opposing forces in The Tale of Two Cities.  Lucie is lovely, golden-haired, and good, a symbol of light.  Although she herself is not complex, by her very presence she draws people together and brings them to find the best in themselves.  She enables Dr. Manette to return to health and peace, and inspires Sydney Carton to find redemption for his degenerate living in the ultimate sacrifice of his life.  Madame DeFarge, on the other hand, is symbolic of evil and the uncontrollable forces of the coming French Revolution.  Driven by the ravages of the aristocrats to an inconsumable hatred, she sits, patient and sinister, knitting the names of the tormentors soon to be doomed.

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge are foils to one another in the book.  Lucie is the epitome of sacrifice and love, of kindness, of deep care and concern for her fellow man.  Madame Defarge lives in a world of violence and hatred, and has lived her life looking to seek vengeance on members of the Evremonde family who hurt her and her family so long ago...even if these family members had nothing to do with the original crime!  She even seeks to harm Lucie's daughter, a little girl not even born when Madame Defarge was hurt.

Check the links below for more information on these great characters!  Good luck!

Read the study guide:
A Tale of Two Cities

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question