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What is the carmagnole in "A Tale of Two Cities"?

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Quick Answer

In the book "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, the carmagnole is a rambunctious and violent dance performed by throngs of people in the streets. The dance symbolizes the violence of the French Revolution and is performed to a song called "La Carmagnole."

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Full Answer

The song is triumphantly sarcastic about the fate of Marie Antoinette and other people who supported the French monarchy. More lyrics were added to the song in later years. The dance and the song were named after a style of jacket worn by working-class men in France around the time of the revolution. It was a short, loose jacket with wide lapels and metal buttons. This style of jacket was adapted by revolutionaries from an Italian peasant costume, whose name derived from the town of Carmagnola in Italy.

Charles Dickens' book "A Tale of Two Cities" follows the lives of several characters in France and London in the years leading up to and during the French Revolution. It depicts the plight of the French peasants, who are demoralized by the aristocracy, and describes the brutality of the revolutionaries toward the aristocrats. The book includes many unflattering social parallels with life in London during that time.

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