La Dame aux Camélias

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Alexandre Dumas, fils

Although the family celebrates Darnay’s freedom, Lucie remains concerned for his safety.  Therefore, the atmosphere in the apartment, while celebratory, is also somewhat tense.  The group is protected by Jerry Cruncher, and also by Miss Pross.  However, when the two of them are gone, four men come to arrest Darnay.  They tell him that he has three accusers, both of the Defarges and a mystery accuser.  They tell him that his trial will occur the following day.  With Darnay’s rearrest, it seems unlikely that Dr. Manette will be able to secure his freedom. 

One of the lingering questions is why Dickens had Darnay released from prison only to have him rearrested on the day of his release.  There seem to be multiple reasons for this twist in the plot.  First, Darnay’s release allows Dickens to highlight the unpredictable nature of the mob.  Second, Darnay’s release and immediate rearrest let the reader know that he will almost certainly be executed.  Third, Darnay’s release despite the intervention of a man considered a hero to the Revolutionaries demonstrates how far from their ideals the Revolutionaries have strayed.  However, the most important component may be what the release and rearrest demonstrate about Madame Defarge.  Prior to Foulon’s execution, she toyed with him, seeming to enjoy his fear as much as she enjoyed his actual death.  She seems to be toying with Darnay, as well.

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