A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Read By: John Lee
Genre: Fiction
Published: 1859


Madame Defarge, one of literature's most horrifying characters, knits as the heads roll in Dickens' tale of the French Revolution. She is the symbol of the Revolution's malevolence. Dickens masterfully contrasts the cruelties of the Old Regime with the savagery of the formerly oppressed peasants visiting their suffering upon the heads of the nobility and all those accused of counterrevolutionary activity. At the same time, the alternative to both the old guard and the modern guillotine is the possibility of redemption. It is a vision laid out by one of the most unlikely characters in this novel, Sidney Carton, who gives his own life in order that the protagonist, Charles Darnay, might live. This hope rises above the crimes of nobility and peasants alike, outliving Madame Defarge herself.