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Leadership in A Tale Of Two Cities Essay


A Tale of Two Cities

Leadership is a necessary component to starting a revolution, especially one so powerful and violent, like the French Revolution. A person who carefully plans out their ideas and turns them into actions is a good leader. In The Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, leadership is needed to guide the revolutionaries. There are two characters in the book that would be considered leaders of the French Revolution, Monsieur and Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge would make the best leader because she is cunning, persuasive and she seems emotionally separated from everyone else.

Being emotionally unattached is a desirable quality to have as a revolutionary leader because it prevents people from becoming suspicious of you. During the French Revolution, anyone suspected of being a revolutionist was immediately executed. Since no one would ever suspect Madame Defarge of trying to start a revolution, she would never be arrested and executed, which would be very important if the revolution were to live on. Madame Defarge is able to avoid suspicious behavior during situations that are significant in regards to the revolution by staying calm and not allowing herself to show any emotion. Madame Defarge reacted very calmly to the news from an enemy spy that Lucie, a close friend, was going to marry a descendent of the Marquis, an enemy of the Revolution. This means death for this relative of Marquis, if he comes into France, and the Defarges both realize it. Monsieur Defarge is talking to Madame Defarge about Lucie's soon to be husband and her response is, 'Her husband's destiny,' said Madame Defarge, with her usual composure, 'will take him where he is to go, and will lead him to the end that is to him. That is all I know.'(167). Madame Defarge is discussing something of utmost importance with her husband, and yet she remains composed. Monsieur Defarge, on the other hand, cracks under the sensitive subject, and becomes weak, while Madame speaks with knowledge, but is not over confident. This quality shows her supporters that she will not back down due to a personal tie. Her seemingly unchangeable emotion adapts well to any situation she is in because it gives her the appearance that she isnt involved in any of the activities that occur around her. Madame Defarge is always thinking of the bigger picture, the Revolution, and unselfishly, doesn't let her emotion get in the way of her goals, an important trait to have in a leader.

Anything as big a movement as the French Revolution needs a leader who will thoroughly plan out every decision and the possible outcome of their decision. This is a very important quality that Madame Defarge possesses. Madame Defarge and Monsieur Defarge were arguing about the right time to start the public uprising. Monsieur Defarge wants to do it as soon as he possibly can. Madame Defarge responds with, 'When the time comes, let loose a tiger and a devil; but wait for the time with the tiger and the devil chained-not shown-yet always ready (162). Timing is everything to Madame Defarge. She believes in having all the supplies ready, but waiting until the perfect time to get her work done. Monsieur Defarge is too eager to start a revolt; he does not think every thing through. Madames leadership is still action-oriented, but she wants to wait for the ideal time. Because Madame Defarge thinks through her plans, and weighs all the pros and cons first, she guarantees success. She is the type of person that consistently has a plan for any type of circumstance. Being prepared for anything is a leadership quality because it promises favorable results.

The ideal leader will give convincing advice and make wise and often risky decisions in order to bring people together under one common goal. In this situation, that common goal is to overthrow the French Monarchy. Madame Defarge gives advice in Chapter Fifteen when one of the Jacques visits the King and Queen of France. He gets extremely angry with how lavish the nobility are compared to him. Madame Defarge speaks to this man about joining the movement with some persuasion. She responds to the Jacques's statement with, You have seen both dolls and birds, go home!(158). Madame Defarge is encouraging this Jacques to take the Revolution into his own hands and right what is wrong in their country. She shows her authority and command when she says, now, go home! But she made sure to not just boss them around by giving advice. This is important because just ordering people around will not make them have as much incentive to fight, rather make them feel lesser and unimportant. They need to feel as if they are not being bossed around, which is something they have already been putting up with every day. Giving advice is much better than ordering people around, because then they are more inclined to join the revolution. Madame Defarge shows great leadership qualities because she gives good counseling to individuals that respond well to her advice.

Leadership is not always the responsibility of one person. In The Tale of Two Cities, Madame Defarge and Monsieur Defarge work together for the majority of the time. Monsieur Defarge acts as the face of the revolution, while Madame Defarge is secretive, and thinks the plans through behind the scenes. Although they work well together, Madame Defarge is the best leader because the qualities she possesses are imperative to having success in the Revolution.

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