Although Sir Percy is the hero of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy created another hero in her story: Blakeney's wife, Marguerite.
In the novel of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Marguerite is called "brilliant," and "the cleverest woman in Europe." She is a vivacious woman who seems to break every convention, even the unwritten rule about women taking a backseat in adventure stories. She's an actress, a bold career in the 18th century, when the theatre was still thought of as a shameful profession.
In many ways, The Scarlet Pimpernel is Marguerite's journey, from despair and cynicism to a deeper understanding about her husband and her life.
Chart Marguerite's journey, from her wedding to Sir Percy, her doubt about his character, her discovery of the truth and, at last, her heroic acts that equal those of The Scarlet Pimpernel. How does Marguerite change throughout the story?
Write a journal from Marguerite's point of view detailing the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Be sure to include her feelings toward Chauvelin, Armand, and especially her changing feelings toward Percy.
Compare Baroness Orczy with the character of Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel. How do they both break convention? After reading about Orczy's life, how do you think she used her experience as a newcomer to England in the creation of Marguerite?
Research the role and lives of women in late 18th century France (check out Daily Life in the French Revolution by Jean Robiquet (Macmillan, NY, 1965). How is Marguerite different from the average woman of that time? How is Marguerite like or unlike the women of today?
Who could turn on the edge of a knife?
Where's the girl who was burning for life?
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