A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Madame Defarge, now the leader of the female revolutionaries, sits in the wine shop with her second-in-command, a stocky woman whose violent acts have earned her the name The Vengeance. No spies dare come into this neighborhood anymore.
If Madame Defarge represents Fate, her assistant reveals exactly 0what kind of Fate is in store: angry and violent vengeance in response to years of tyranny and oppression.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Monsieur Defarge returns with news that an old aristocrat, who once said that starving people should just eat grass, tried to fake his own death but has now been caught. Anger swells—a revolutionary mob rushes from the neighborhood to the courts building. The mob overwhelms the officials, captures the old aristocrat, then drags, beats, and stuffs his mouth with straw. Finally, they hang him from a lamppost.
The story of the murdered aristocrat alludes to the famous story of Queen Marie Antoinette who, when told that the starving people had no bread, replied "Let them eat cake." The statement exemplifies cruel snobbery, but the response is out of proportion to the offense.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Afterwards, the commoners return home, eat their "scanty suppers," play with their kids, and make love. Back at the shop, Defarge tells his wife that he is happy the Revolution has finally come. "Almost," Madame Defarge replies.
The scenes of the commoners at home highlights that the vicious mob is made up of ordinary people. Madame Defarge's comment shows her insatiable appetite for revenge.
Themes
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon