Which character is most memorable in the book to you and why?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the redemption of Sydney Carton is so very poignant and, indeed, memorable, the words of Marc Antony as he eulogized the slain Julius Caesar ring true with the characters of A Tale of Two Cities:

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones (III,ii,76-77)

For, the evil that Madame DeFarge does lives long after her.  There is, also, a terrible fascination that the reader experiences when reading of the story of the twin brothers Evremonde and their terrible crime.  That revenge for this crime against her family is the single driving force in Madame Defarge's life is, certainly, remarkable.  For, never once is this woman deterred.  Unlike her husband who feels some sympathy for the Manettes, Madame Defarge feels nothing but implacable hatred, and mechanically  knits continuously, adding the names of the aristocrats into her knitting. 

Dickens's character does not make a pact with the devil as does Dr. Fautus; she becomes a devil herself.  Like Lady Macbeth, she loses her femininity and becomes an unsexed soldier of vengeance, not just against the Evremondes, but against all aristocrats.  But, unlike Lady Macbeth, Madame DeFarge is unrepentant all her life, even willing to sacrifice her own life in her pursuit of vengeance.  Her evil is entire; her evil is so deep and so cruel that it is truly memorable.  Along with Miss Havisham and Scrooge, the name of Madame DeFarge is one that even non-readers of Dickens recognize.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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