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Symbolism Of Alcohol In A Tale Of Two Cities

840 words - 3 pages

The repetition of a motif creates an atmosphere of foreboding vulnerability, intrigue, suspense, and horror in A Tale of Two Cities. The theme of liquor establishes the lingering effect that an appalling event is going to transpire due to foreshadowing. Wine is used both as sustenance and as a symbol of blood. Throughout A Tale of Two Cities wine is paralleled to blood in order to portray the reason why the peasants started an uprising against the elite of the French government to gain equality and fairness.
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens uses alcohol to underscore the difference in status between the rich and the poor in France. For the nouveau riche or members of the upper class to subsist “It took four men, all four a-blaze with gorgeous decoration…to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur’s lip” (Dickens, 108) and “…an appearance of satisfaction with a bottle of good claret after dinner” (Dickens, 22) while the poverty-stricken people, who scoured for bread or food, of France “…were champing the moister wine-rotted fragments with eager relish from a large cask of wine that had been dropped and broken, in the street, even though, much mud got taken up along with it” (Dickens, 30-1). The citizens of Saint Antoine, an ugly neighborhood in front of the entrance to Paris, are like savage animals. Scooping of the alcoholic beverage in the filthy road depicts extreme hunger of the underprivileged people. Members of the working class are needy that they will do anything to obtain food for their families, but the nobility are gluttonous, having plenty to eat and drink. The prosperous do not care for the helpless since they are stubborn, and they require the servants to wear fashionable apparel in order to eliminate any indication of impecuniousness. Therefore, the chaos in the street represents the “worst of times” for the commoners’ insatiable hunger for extravagance but “the best of times” for the aristocrats who were delighted with wealth (Dickens, 5).
The beggars’ inclination for the commodities of the nobles and the anaphora of wine in the story foreshadows the revolution of the peasants against the French government, which was composed of high-ranked officials. In the crowded, hectic street of Saint Antoine after the shattering of a wine barrel in chapter 5 of book 1, a peasant with a tainted expression “…scrawled upon a wall with his finger dipped in muddy wine lees- BLOOD, so the time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones” (Dickens, 32). The writing on the wall by...

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