What are the mood and tone of The Scarlet Pimpernel?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mood--what the author makes you as the reader feel--is primarily one of suspense. Orczy superbly creates an entangled plot which causes her readers to wonder if Marguerite will ever know her husband's true identity as The Scarlet Pimpernel, or more importantly, if she will ever see his truly brave character. Similarly, readers are intrigued by Sir Percy's rather elaborate plots and disguises and question whether he will be able to escape the snare set for him by Chauvelin.

The tone--the author's attitude toward his or her subject--of the novel is a little more complex.  The Baroness Orczy was certainly judgmental of the treatment of aristocrats during the French Revolution.  Her portrayal of most of the aristocrats as innocent, sympathetic characters demonstrates this attitude. Orczy also presents a tone of admiration toward those who defied the new French regime and risked their lives to try to save the royalty and aristocracy. Sir Percy has few negative qualities, and his heroic acts further Orczy's doting attitude toward a British aristocrat who seeks to save others.  This is perhaps because she and her husband were part of the British aristocracy, and she perhaps felt somewhat defensive of her position in society after the French Revolution's illumination of the aristocracy's many flaws.