Analyzing the Madame By Katherine Rincón and Ariel Lam

Madame Defarge's Ethics

Where does the Madame's Moral Compass point?


"Darkness was closing in around the women who sat there knitting. Soon there would be a structure built in that same spot, where these women would one day sit knitting and counting the number of heads that were to be chopped off." - Book 2, Chapter 16: Page 8.

Knitting is a simple, common, and feminine hobby. Only the women would knit, and it was only an action the women did during the era of the French Revolution. The person with the needles in hand is completely in charge of what the thread will become. The knitting signifies how Madame Defarge believes or even tries to control the lives of those on her list. She seeks to control them by ending their lives when she supposes is the correct time. It no longer is when your time is up, it becomes when Madame Defarge's time calls for it.


“...Defarge, I was brought up among the fishermen of the sea-shore, and that peasant family so injured by the two Evremonde brothers, as that Bastille paper describes, is my family. Defarge, that sister of the mortally wounded boy upon the ground was my sister, that husband was my sister’s husband, that unborn child was their child, that brother was my brother, that father was my father, those dead are my dead, and that summons to answer for those things descends to me!” - Book 3 Chapter 12: Page 3

The very well known "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" seemed to be Madame Defarge's life motto. She spent her whole life waiting to take her vengeance upon the Evremondes but eventually that hatred boiled over to be aimed at any aristocrat. Her logic, the Evermondes killed her family so she now has to kill them. Simple (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)


“It was nothing to her, that an innocent man was to die for the sins of his forefathers; she saw, not him, but them. It was nothing to her, that his wife was to be made a widow and his daughter an orphan; that was insufficient punishment, because they were her natural enemies and her prey, and as such had no right to live. To appeal to her, was made hopeless by her having no sense of pity, even for herself.” - Book 3 Chapter 14: Page 3

Sacrifice is crucial in the path one takes to achieving their goals. However there is something of a difference between selfless scrifice and selfish sacrifice. In this case, Madame's actions can be classified as both. She is unselfish as she does fight on the side of the people. She fights for the scorned and for the rejected. Although she is seen as a feirce enemy, she is also enjoying the blood spill. She understands that she needs to make the "sacrifice" of killing her enemies. She understands that she needs to make that man's wife a widow, and his child an orphan. And though she understand this, she does not in anyway sympathize for them, making her selfish.

Dynamic or Static?

Is Madame Defarge's character unchanging and ever the same, or is there another side to this face?


Madame Defarge was a calm, mysterious woman at the beginning, but she became a crazed revolutionist towards the end.

Madame Defarge, a wine shop owner in Saint Antoine, Paris is the antagonist in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Dickens describes Defarge as a 'stout woman with a watchful eye that seldom seemed to look at anything, a large hand heavily ringed, a steady face, strong features and great composure of manner.

Madame's actions

Madame Defarge acts rudely and violently towards the other characters in the book.

Darnay, Lucie, Little Lucie: she was merciless

"Madame Defarge looked, coldly as ever, at the suppliant,.."

Book 3, Chapter 3: Page 3

“Judge you! Is it likely that the suffering of one wife and mother would matter much to us now?”

Book 3, Chapter 3: Page 4

This quote was Madame Defarge's reaction to Lucie's plea for mercy for her husband. Madame showed no mercy or care for Lucie's request and simply walked out after responding.

“Woman imbecile and pig-like!” said Madame Defarge, frowning” Book 3: Chapter 14: Page 7. Madame Defarge’s words to Miss Pross when she went to the Darnay residence to kill Lucie

“But, imbued from her childhood with a brooding sense of wrong, and an inveterate hatred of a class, opportunity had developed her into a tigress. She was absolutely without pity. If she had ever had the virtue in her, it had quite gone out of her.” Book 3, Chapter 14: Page 3

This quote shows Defarge’s hatred towards the Evremonde family.

Other characters see Madame Defarge as a scary and merciless woman.

“You might, from your appearance, be the wife of Lucifer,” said Miss Pross, in her breathing.

Book 3 Chapter 14: Page 6

Those who sided with Defarge saw her as brave, strong, and great.

“What an admirable woman; what an adorable woman!” exclaimed Jacques Three, rapturously. “Ah, my cherished!” cried The Vengeance; and embraced her.”

Book 3 Chapter 14: Page 3

MAdame's motivations

Madame's Defarge's action were unwise. She went blood-thirsty for power after murdering everyone and wanted to kill even more people afterward. Har actions were just full of anger, resentment, and hatred towards the Evremondes. There was no real purpose for killing everyone who was linked with the Evremondes. It wasn't just but instead, it was rash and impulsive actions. When she tried to confront Lucie while she was grieving over Charles despite already having a positive conviction but ended up getting killed in the process. Her thirst for bloodshed ended up being her demise and in the end, no one benefited from the killing of those innocent people.

Author's opinions on madame

Motivation and theme sOng


by Disturbed.

“I'll have you know

That I've become


Determination that is incorruptible

That their opponent had to be invincible

Take a last look around while you're alive

I'm an indestructible

Master of war

I carry out my orders without a regret

No hesitation when I am commanded to strike”

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