The Scarlet Pimpernel

by Baroness Orczy
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Sir Percy was acting differently throughout the novel. What are some examples of this?  

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Sir Percy is divided into three personas for most of the novel: his true self, the heroic Scarlet Pimpernel, and the foppish Sir Percy who promenades around English society.

As the Pimpernel, he regularly takes on several different disguises to sneak past the French border and rescue aristocrats from the...

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Sir Percy is divided into three personas for most of the novel: his true self, the heroic Scarlet Pimpernel, and the foppish Sir Percy who promenades around English society.

As the Pimpernel, he regularly takes on several different disguises to sneak past the French border and rescue aristocrats from the guillotine's blade. His most famous disguise is that of an old hag of a woman, complete with ragged clothes and a stooped posture to disguise his height. He also disguises himself as a fool and as a poverty-stricken Jewish man. He throws himself so much into his roles that he fools his would-be captors every time.

As a fop, Percy conjures up idiotic and childish rhymes and pretends to be obsessed with fashions. He is cold to his wife, keeping her at arms' length with his witty turns of phrase and joking around. When in this persona, he constantly quotes his little ditty about the "damned elusive Pimpernel" to additionally throw everyone off the scent as to his heroic alter ego.

We only get to see the true Percy in brief glimpses until the end of the novel. Because the story is from Marguerite's perspective, we too are not privy to Percy's real character until he is revealed as the Pimpernel and we learn his coldness towards Marguerite came from his learning about her betrayal of an aristocratic family in France to the revolutionaries—though he himself does not learn until later that it was an unwitting betrayal. Only when Marguerite's innocence is proven and her devotion to him made clear does Percy let fall the last mask between the two of them.

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