Throughout the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens constantly uses examples of violence and cruelty to show why the French peasants revolted against the aristocracy and to describe the revolt. During the extant of the peasant’s lives before the rebellion they were treated so brutally by the aristocrats. The wealthy people took great advantage of their power and the poor people. When the peasants rebelled they responded with violence and brutality from the hatred of their hearts.
During the French Revolution, over 40,000 people died, and over 12,000 of these people did not even have a trial. The French Revolution was over sixty years before A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was released, but there were still many injustices and inhumane acts that took place in England during his lifetime. The inhumanity Dickens experienced during his lifetime is seen throughout the novel very clearly. Dickens portrays the inhumane people in the novel as successful at first, but they all eventually meet their horrific demise. Men are corrupted and doomed by the hatred and inhumanity towards his fellow man, and this is shown clearly through the Evrémonde brothers, Madame Defarge, and the revolutionaries.
One might believe that because capital punishment plays such a large role in Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities, that Dickens himself is a supporter of it. This just simply is not true. Dickens uses capitol punishment as a tool to define the evil embodied in both the French ruling class, and the opposing lower class during the French Revolution; as well as comment on the sheep-like nature of humankind.
"Hunger was pushed out of the tall houses, in the wretched clothing that hung upon poles and lines; Hunger was patched into them with straw and rag and wood and paper; Hunger was repeated in every fragment of the small modicum of firewood that the man sawed off; Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse, of anything to eat. Hunger was the inscription on the baker's shelves, written in every small loaf of his scanty stock of bad bread; at the sausage-shop, in every dead-dog preparation that was offered for sale" (Dickens 38) One of the main causes of the French Revolution was the lack of food and the high cost of it. A normal laborer would have to pay close to 97%
The era surrounding the French Revolution was a horrifically bloody and violent period of history – the best of times and the worst of times. The violence enacted by the citizens of French on their fellow countrymen set a gruesome scene in the cities and country sides of France. Charles Dickens uses a palate of storm, wine, and blood imagery in A Tale of Two Cities to paint exactly how tremendously brutal this period of time was.
A Tale of Two Cities has several recurring themes, including the failure of the French Revolution. In the book, the peasants defeated the aristocrats by imprisoning and murdering them. Although many of the imprisonments and executions were unjust, the peasants had gain complete power. The peasants’ revolution did not end the tyranny that existed with the aristocrats ruling, but created a new tyranny with lack of justice and mercy.
A Tale of Two Cities delineates life before the French Revolution where citizens suffered from incalculable anguish and savage oppression before they remonstrated against the aristocracy in an bestial way of bloodlust and revenge,causing untold physical and emotional trauma. Dickens feared that the deplorable living conditions in England were sparks for a revolution similar to the one in France. Written to warn the British people against the horrors of the revolution and concentrating on the bloody violence of the French Revolution, Dickens creates characters trapped in universally pertinent jails which still applies to society today, such as uncontrollable circumstances, injustice, and attitudes. In the novel, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, the author uses the "gaols" to warn the people of Britain the consternation of the French Revolution through the use literal and metaphorical prisons. People are confined
First, in a scene in Saint Antoine, a large cask of wine was dropped and broken on the streets. Everybody stopped what they were doing and went to drink the wine on the ground. Peoples’ hands, clothes, and the roads were all stained. The word, “BLOOD,” was also written on a wall with wine (Dickens 20). The wine in this scene symbolizes the blood of the revolution and foreshadows the entrance of the revolution. While the cask spilled, happiness and the thought of change went through all the minds of the poor in Saint Antoine. The mob formation of all the peasants to get wine or, “blood,” shows us the hatred they have for the wealthy class and how much they want the revolution to come. Later on in the book, Dickens uses echoing footsteps to foreshadow the upcoming revolution. As Lucie sits in the corner of a parlor, as she had done for six years, she hears footsteps from people downstairs, but she also hears echoes coming from far away. She wonders if the echoes are about her or her family, but then she says, “There were other echoes, from a distance, that rumbled menacingly in the corner all through this space of time. And it was now, about little Lucie's sixth birthday, that they began to have an awful sound, as of a great storm in France with a dreadful sea rising(Dickens 164).” Echoes of happiness and family were around; however, there were also
In the sociopolitical novel, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens analyzes the events of one of the bloodiest revolutions in history, the French Revolution, characterized by its violence after no less than 40,000 people were sentenced to death. The violence of the revolution put irreversible change into motion, helping to bring greater equality between French citizens as a result of the upheaval, and causing political changes that affected millions. Through his changing tone, Dickens conveys that rebellion is necessary to amend the ever-growing divide between the social classes, but the mindless nature of the violence, as a result of mob mentality, is excessive, and blood is unnecessarily spilled.
The literature that came out of the French Revolution often shares common themes of death, rebirth, and destruction. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is much the same way. Throughout the novel, Dickens clearly supports the revolution but also depicts the brutality of the revolutionaries. Dickens uses powerful metaphors of a sea to symbolize the revolutionaries destroying old France and the belittling name of “Jacques” to depict the narcissistic views of the French aristocracy to show his support for the revolution.
The French Revolution mainly took place in the city of Paris during the late 1700’s. The Revolution did not only affect the people of France, but also the citizens of England as well. The French Revolution is known as one of the most brutal and inhumane periods of history. If one studied the beliefs and views of the people involved at the time, one would see a reoccurring theme of “ being recalled to life”. Born from the world of literature, Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities takes a deeper look at the culture of the late 1700’s, in both England and France. Dickens uses the character of Lucie Manette to further examine one of the major themes presented in the novel, consisting of the belief of one being
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, narrates the frustrations of the common people toward Foulon, a French magistrate. The people rejoice when Foulon is imprisoned since he treated them awfully. The nature of the French Revolution is the common people’s elation at the downfall of the aristocracy. Dickens utilizes personification, motif, and symbolism to describe the relationship between the common people and Foulon.
The French Revolution was a gruesome event that forever changed the history of France and its people. Charles Dickens the writer of Tale of Two Cities captures the essence of what the French Revolution was like with its exposure to his characters. The peasants of France start to change in their behaviors towards the nobles, and the friction grows. Other important characters in Dickens’ book are drawn into the chaos that is bound to ensue in France. Dickens enhances his readers’ experiences through foreshadowing the inhumanity towards man in the events of the introduction to French peasants, Carton’s future, and the spillage of the wine cask.
Starve a man for a day he becomes hungry, starve a man for a week he becomes irrational, and starve a man for 2 weeks he becomes beastly. This is what happens in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities when the French government is taxing and starving its own country into starting a bloody and ruthless revolt. In this novel Dickens uses a variety of literary devices to tell a captivating story about a corrupt time in French history. For example, in Book 1 Chapter 5 lines 14 – 16 Dickens uses symbolism, allegories, imagery, and metaphors to foreshadow events throughout the rest of the story.