List the information Dickens gives in chapters 7 and 8 that shows the decay of the upper classes in French society.

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kriskress eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The decay of the upper class is demonstrated in Book the Second, chapters 7 with the introduction of the Marquis de Evremonde and the Monseigneur in the French Court. A once very wealthy aristocrat, the Monseigneur had grown accustomed to a life of luxury. However, times being as they were in France and the peasants being unable to pay the exorbetant taxes, Monseigneur needed a way to maintain his luxurious lifestyle. Therefore, he essentially sells his sister to a rich Farmer-General, in exchange for substantial funds. Dickens also comments on the party the Monseigneur is having, "Everyone was dressed for a Fancy Ball that was never to leave off." So, while the aristocratic upper class continues to dress the part, they are acting as though ignorant to the fact that their former lives are unable to reach their old stature due to the absolute squalor of the economic conditions. The country was so depleted, it did reach so far as to even impact the upper class.

In chapter 8, a beautiful, yet "not abundant" landscape is depicted as the setting of the chateau of the Marquis de Evremonde. Again, a once beautiful patch of land, now barren and overridden with weeds. The interior of the Marquis' home is still maintained in extravagant fashion, but it does not match the exterior, hence, showing the decay of the upper classes.

terafrayne eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening of Chapter 7 Dickens gives a parody and caricature of the lavish, decadent and indulgent lifestyle of the marquis de Everemonde and the Monsiegnor at the French court. Five men surround the Monsiegnor to feed him chocolates. In one scene, the marquis rides through St. Antoine in his carriage at a dangerous speed and knocks down and kills a poor peasant boy. After the accident, a mob surrounds the carriage and watches as the marquis insults the people and coldly throws a coin at the father as a means of earning reparation. The chateau that the marquis resides at is also equally lavish and decadent. The cold stone sculptures parallel the character of the marquis. This indulgence, and the lack of a middle class, illustrates that the aristocrats are indeed depraved.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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