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Quotes

Quote #7

The eye could not detect one creature in the group free from the smear of blood.

Shouldering one another to get next at the sharpening-stone, were men stripped to the waist, with the stain all over their limbs and bodies; men in all sorts of rags, with the stain upon those rags; men devilishly set off with spoils of women's lace and silk and ribbon, with the stain dyeing those trifles through and through. (3.2.31)

The fantastic costumes which the grindstone sharpeners wear parallel the costumes of Monseigneur’s attendants earlier in the novel. Both are grotesque, an uneasy reminder of just how alike the two classes are in their viciousness.

Quote #8

A revolutionary tribunal in the capital, and forty or fifty thousand revolutionary committees all over the land; a law of the Suspected, which struck away all security for liberty or life, and delivered over any good and innocent person to any bad and guilty one; prisons gorged with people who had committed no offence, and could obtain no hearing; these things became the established order and nature of appointed things, and seemed to be ancient usage before they were many weeks old. (3.4.10)

The revolution quickly turns into a new Republic, one whose laws are just as vindictive and just as unjust as those which the old aristocrats once established.

Quote #9

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. (3.14.40)

"Not him, but them." That’s the heart of this quote: Madame Defarge doesn’t care about the rights of individuals at all. Her determination to exterminate the entire race of the Evrémondes makes her as dangerous a force as the aristocrats who raped her sister.

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