Inhumanity Towards Man Essay

1350 words - 6 pages

The French Revolution was an important insurrection in Europe’s history that rapidly accelerated to much bloodshed and despair. French class systems were highly enforced at this time period and nobility and clergy were unjustly put on a much higher pedestal than all other citizens. Between 1789 and 1799, French peasants band together in rebellion to overthrow those in power due to years of mistreatment, suppression, and economic frustration. In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, he covers in great detail the many events inducing the beginning of the French Revolution and on into the years of the revolt, starting from 1775. He uses imagery and numerous symbols and themes, both ...view middle of the document...

” (79). They do not see the peasants’ suffering as dire, nor do they understand the struggle the peasants experience daily. The higher classes live care-free lives, filled with many luxuries, that they truly do not appreciate, but simply expect. The nobles’ selfishness and mistreatment triggers the peasants’ anger and hatred. It takes the roles of power being flipped before aristocrats notice any change in France or the feelings that have been secretly brewing within the poor.
Knitting is another symbol that Charles Dickens thoroughly creates from start to finish of his novel. The women in poverty, who will later support and help in leading the revolution, knit registries of names of those whom they wish to kill. They use knitting as a way of venting and releasing their animosity. Along with the inhumanity between the higher and lower classes, sexist restrictions on women give another reason for disgust for the wealthy. Dickens paints a picture of the mood of the undercover revolutionaries when in the presence of the nobility, “Their arrival had lighted a kind of fire in the breast of Saint Antoine, fast spreading as they came along, which stirred and flickered in flames of faces at most doors and windows.” (127). As Defarge and the mender of roads enter, Madame Defarge seemingly continues her knitting, as she continues to plot the deaths. Later, Madame Defarge makes it apparent that she is destine to seek revenge. Madame Defarge is blood thirsty especially for Darnay’s family because of his uncle’s contributions to several family losses within her own family, but for all aristocrats whether they have crossed her or not. She boldly threatens Lucie and Darnay’s child and then, “Madame Defarge, stopping in her work for the first time, and pointing her knitting-needle at little Lucie as if it were the finger of Fate.” (207). Throughout the French Revolution, Madame Defarge and the revolutionaries all use their power irresponsibly. They take lives no matter the age, crime, innocence or guilt. The red-caps hate crimes are all aimed at anyone who is of nobility. Just as the aristocrats failed to care for the peasants, when the rebellion occurs, the revolutionaries do not care either.
One final metaphor that stood out in Dickens’ efforts to portray his theme is several of his characters feasting on another man’s fate. On multiple occasions, Charles Dickens compares his characters to animals. He first makes a comparison with blue-flies during Charles Darnay’s trial. Dickens says, “a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what he was soon to become” (50). The spectators hover over Darnay awaiting his horrid fate. The spectators whisper and speak in a buzzed manner as they wait in anticipation and excitement, thinking Darnay is predesignated to execution. The spectators feast on the accused like flies to their prey. The trial becomes the talk of town, and Darnay’s misfortune...

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