"The Scarlet Pimpernel" Reader's Guide

Page 6


  1. How do the theater and theatricality function in the novel?
  2. Are there other heroes in the story besides Percy, and if so, who are they and why are they heroes?
  3. Who is the central protagonist in The Scarlet Pimpernel? In other words, who carries the emotional weight of the novel?
  4. At what point does Lady Blakeney become a sympathetic character? Would you consider her an unlikable character as she initially appears?
  5. What purpose does the Comtesse de Tournay serve in the larger arc of the novel? Why do you think she disappears after the first section of the book?
  6. Does Percy treat Marguerite unfairly?
  7. How is the scarlet pimpernel flower a larger motif for the themes of the novel? Does it fit Percy as a character?
  8. Compare and contrast the Fisherman’s Rest with the Chat Gris.
  9. What do you make of Marguerite’s assumption throughout the last part of the story that Percy is unaware of the fact that Chauvelin is on his trail?
  10. The novel is told mostly from Marguerite’s point of view, but occasionally it slips into the minds of other characters, such as Percy and Chauvelin. What is the effect of these slips?
  11. How does Chauvelin manage to be a threatening villain without ever having to engage in physical combat with the Pimpernel? Is he ultimately threatening?
  12. Why doesn’t Chauvelin have to die at the end of the book for a successful resolution? Would the novel have been more satisfying with a different resolution, or does the resolution as Orczy presents it fit the tenor of the book as a whole?
  13. How does loyalty play a key role in the distinction between Percy succeeding and Chauvelin failing in achieving their goals? Are these respective men’s followers equally loyal to their causes? Is their loyalty distinct?
  14. Is Percy a less admirable hero for never physically taking on his enemies? What is his ultimate goal as the Scarlet Pimpernel?
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

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