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When it was first published, The Scarlet Pimpernel was considered classist by critics because it so clearly takes the side of the upper-crust nobles in The French Revolution. Indeed, a key theme that emerges in Orczy's novel is an innate tie between nobility and heroism -- the idea that all the qualities of a grand adventure hero, namely charisma, beauty, elegance, ingenuity, and fashion, are all natural qualities of the noble class. This is, of course, quite obviously wrong (as any look at the actual history that preceded the French Revolution will show), but Orczy, a baroness herself, makes no bones about her allegiance. In order to create sympathy for the nobility, however, she must create the sense that the masses are bloodthirsty enough to kill indiscriminately.
THis can readily be seen in the first chapter.