A Tale of Two Cities Essay: Vengeance and Blood

A Tale of Two Cities Essay: Vengeance and Blood

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Vengeance and Blood in A Tale of  Two Cities


In A Tale of  Two Cities, Charles Dickens depicts how pointless the revolution
becomes when the original goal of equality becomes lost when the anger,
frustration, and desire for revenge of the third estate is finally
discharged.  The trial of Charles Darnay, the words and actions of
Madame Defarge, and use of symbolism and foreshadowing show how anger

 drove the revolution to a state of pointlessness.

One major reason the revolution became out of hand was due to
unscrupulous people running the courts and the imprisonment of  innocent
people for no reason.  Charles Darnay happens to be a character in dire
trouble, when he finds himself being imprisoned and tried before an unjust
tribunal.  Darnay was a wealthy man who left France, but returned to help
a former servant and " was accused by the public prosecutor as an
emigrant, whose life was forfeit to the Republic, under the decree which
banished all emigrants on pain of Death" (413).  One way to impose revenge
on the higher classes was to sentence them to death for little or no
reason, which was the case with Darnay.  At his second trial Darnay
realized that " before the unjust Tribunal, there was little or no order
of procedure, ensuring to any accused person any reasonable hearing.
There could have been no such Revolution, if all laws, forms, and
ceremonies, had no first been so monstrously abused, that the suicidal
vengeance of the Revolution was to scatter them all to the winds" (457).
The chaotic and murderous atmosphere within the courts reflected the
frenzied state that lay outside of its dreaded doors.  Another example of
revenge can be seen in the character Madame Defarge.

Madame Defarge represents the people in France who gave in to hate to
satisfy the hurt and pain that had churned inside of them for so long, and
is finally released in murder and acts of revenge.  She was a woman
without pity and virtue.  For " it was nothing to her, that an innocent
man was to die  for the sins of his forefathers; she saw, not him, but
them.  It was nothing to her, that his wife was to be made a widow and his
daughter an orphan; that was insufficient punishment, because they were
her natural enemies and her prey, and as such had no right to live" (
524).  Many people showed this same type of vindictiveness, which created
a curtain that blocked the original goal of the third estate.

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  Of course,
there is a reason as to why Madame Defarge is the way she is.  When Madame
Defarge says, " All our lives, we have seen our sister-women suffer, in
themselves and in their children, poverty, nakedness, hunger, thirst,
sickness, misery, oppression and neglect of all kinds," she is
representing all of the pain the third estate had suffered, and why it
finally boiled over.  Other instances of suffering and pointless actions
include the girl who stood by Sydney Carton while waiting to be executed,
and a small boy run over by the Monseigneur.  Symbolism and foreshadowing
also exhibit the peoples hate and suffering and how it's released in

A small girl is sentenced to La Guillotine and a boy is run over, both
are actions in which there is no meaning or gain.  Neither help to win the
revolution.  The girl has faith in the Republic, but questions what will
be gained from killing her.  Addressing Sydney Carton she says," I am not
afraid to die, Citizen Evremonde, but I have done nothing.  I am not
unwilling to die, if the Republic which is to do so much good to us poor,
will profit by my death; but I do not know how that can be Citizen
Evremonde" (515).  Wine is used to show how bloody and gruesome the
revolution would become.  When a wine barrel spills, Dickens uses
symbolism and foreshadowing of death by writing, " The time was to come,
when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the
stain of it would be red upon many there," (39).

The French Revolution was fueled by vengeance and crime.  Instead of
sticking together in a mutual quest for equality, people turned against
each other, and tangled the sticky web of the revolution even more.
Although some positive reactions came out of the revolution, " Far and
wide lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation.  Every green
leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shriveled and poor
as the miserable people," (329).  Everyone makes mistakes, but the
important thing is to learn from them.  Each of us needs to take the
mistakes of the French Revolution and learn from them, so that the
needless death and suffering doesn't ever repeat itself.
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