Conflict. What is a conflict? A conflict is a “competitive or opposing action”, quotes the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, is a historical narrative which consists of several diverse conflicts and resolutions. The story takes place during the French Revolution, an uprising of the French citizens trying to destroy anyone who is an ally with an aristocrat. Like most revolutions, it is full of chaos and bloodshed. In the year 1792, during the revolution, someone unidentified is saving these people. The name given to this cunning, secret hero is, the Scarlet Pimpernel. The Scarlet Pimpernel is an alias for Sir Percy Blankeney. Lady Marguerite is the wife of Sir Percy, and both of them are trying to fight against their French enemy, Chauvelin.
One major conflict in The Scarlet Pimpernel is between Sir Percy Blakeney and Lady Marguerite. There is something that prevents their marriage from being solid and strong; this barrier is their lack of trust and stubbornness. When Sir Percy hears rumors about Marguerite killing the St. Cyr family, Marguerite admits what she did but without an explanation. Because of this, Sir Percy stays away and acts coldly toward her. Therefore, Marguerite is nasty and mocks him. As a result, Sir Percy does not think he is able to trust her with his secret of being the Scarlet Pimpernel. After a while, Marguerite needs help with saving her dear brother and also wants to be cherished by her husband again. Marguerite finally explains the reason for getting them killed to Sir Percy. Sir Percy, without showing it, loves her once again and he sees how loyal Marguerite really is.
The conflict between Chauvelin and the Scarlet Pimpernel/Sir Percy is also a main element of the novel. Chauvelin is trying to identify the Scarlet Pimpernel and then capture him. This is exceedingly difficult for Chauvelin because the Scarlet Pimpernel knows how to hide his identity well at all times. Because Sir Percy acts as an inane, dull, foolish man, no one ever suspects that he can be the Scarlet Pimpernel, someone who is courageous and intelligent. There are many times that Sir Percy escapes Chauvelin’s evil plans. For example, at Lord Grenville’s ball, they are both in the room where people from the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are supposed to meet, and Chauvelin does not suspect at all that Sir Percy is there for any reason like that. Another example is when Sir Percy disguises himself as a poor Jew. Because of Sir Percy’s quick wit, he is able to think of a successful disguise like that and come up with a sly lie to completely trick Chauvelin.
Chauvelin and the Scarlet Pimpernel are both very determined and try their hardest to accomplish what they need to, although there is a distinction between them. The Scarlet Pimpernel is a humble man who saves people’s lives only because he thinks it is the right thing to do. Alternatively, Chauvelin assumes that killing aristocrats is right because they have been ruling for the past generations and now the French citizens want a chance to rule over the aristocrats. He tries exceptionally hard to murder people which is not the moral thing to do. The conflicts between Lady Marguerite and Sir Percy Blakeney and between Chauvelin and the Scarlet Pimpernel have major differences. Marguerite and Sir Percy’s conflict ends on a good note; they become closer and develop a stronger love for each other.
In contrast, Chauvelin and the Scarlet Pimpernel’s conflict was only Chauvelin trying to catch the Scarlet Pimpernel, but it never went the other way. Chauvelin was the main source of the conflict. The conflict only ended well for the Scarlet Pimpernel and not for Chauvelin because he did not reach his goal of capturing the Scarlet Pimpernel. The Scarlet Pimpernel is useful for future generations because it teaches about the true history of the French Revolution. Although many details of The Scarlet Pimpernel are not factual, most of the background information is accurate and can educate about this time period in a more interesting and exciting manner.