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Theme Of Inhumanity Invades In Symbols

1304 words - 6 pages

Cruelty, blood, and gore are all accurate descriptions of the French Revolution. This horrific time is correctly represented by the twisted and elaborate plot of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. During this time, pity and sympathy leave the hearts of both the revolutionaries and the aristocrats. The hatred felt by the revolutionaries towards their oppressors seizes control of their hearts and results in more ruthless and savage behavior towards their old persecutors. Man, himself, becomes a more brutal race in this time of animosity. He has no compassion towards his fellow man, resulting in extraordinary bloodshed. Throughout A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens conveys the theme of inhumanity by using symbols, especially scarecrows, blue-flies, and dogs.
By using scarecrows to represent the peasants, Dickens successfully portrays the theme of inhumanity. He states, “But, the time was not come yet; and every wind that blew over France shook the rags of the scarecrows in vain, for the birds, fine of song and feather, took no warning” (Dickens 23). The nobles dress flamboyantly and spend their days being entertained, similar to the birds. The peasants are frail looking with baggy clothes resembling the appearance of scarecrows. While they want to scare nobles away, the peasants do not have enough strength to overpower the aristocrats who abuse them day and night. The nobles ignore all weakness of the peasants and take advantage of them. They pay attention to their fancy clothes and spend their days wasting money by being entertained when the peasants continue to fail to scare away their persecutors. The peasants continuously search for food desperately trying to sustain life while being taken advantage of. They are starved, for the nobles continue to ignore their pitiful, feeble bodies. Although they are already in charge, the nobles crave for more power. This yearn for domination results in their apathetic attitude towards the weak peasants. But, the nobles go too far, and as the story progresses, the peasants gain enough strength to fight back when “that morning, a vast dusky mass of scarecrows heaving to and fro, with frequent gleams of light above the billowy heads, where steel blades and bayonets shone in the sun” (165). The peasants still resemble the weak scarecrows, but they have now fulfilled the reputation of scarecrows as they charge the Bastille. Because their attack surprises the nobles and begins the long awaited revolution, the aristocrats are quickly scared away by the uprising peasants. During their storming of the prison, the peasants maintain the façade of being scarecrows as their ruthlessness overpowers the fleeing birds. The inhumane treatment both given and received by the scarecrows shows how brutal man can be.
In addition to the scarecrows, Dickens reveals the barbaric mindset of mankind by using blue-flies as a symbol. Before Darnay’s trial starts, Dickens states, “When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in...

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