a tale of two cities elucidates the results of what happens when revenge is allowed to dictate behaviour . comment.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the statement is quite valid.  I have two words in support of it:  Madame Defarge.  I think that Madame Defarge's characterization is probably some of the strongest evidence to support the statement.  Indeed, the vengeful spirit of the French Revolution was something that was not revealed in its early stages.  At the start it was seen as a "bliss" and "a new dawning" by Romantic thinkers like Wordsworth.  They saw the French Revolution as a spontaneous exercise on what it meant to be alive and to be human.  Quickly this innocent spirit became transplanted with a rather vengeful and ugly side.  Robespierre and the other participants in the Reign of Terror exposed the dark side of the Revolution.  Madame Defarge operates in the same capacity in the novel.  She uses political change to satisfy her own agenda.  No doubt, it is understandable the level of her anger.  Her family's deaths at the hands of the ruling French monarchy and the rape of her sister by Evremonde's fuel her own sense of anger and sow the seeds of revenge and retribution.  Yet, Dickens creates Madame Defarge to show the reality of how personal agendas based on revenge cannot enter the domain of the political, as it becomes nearly impossible to limit or check such desire.  The result is mob rule and chaos, as demonstrated by the dance done prior to the public executions and the almost orgasmic experience of the blood spilling from the guillotine.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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