The French Revolution: A Symbol Of Injustice

1940 words - 8 pages

The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval, lead by the lower class of France, which began the decline of powerful monarchies in France and the rise of nationalism and democracy. In A Tale Of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens, he highlights these aspects of the war between classes and makes them personal to the reader. Throughout the novel, Dickens’ establishes and develops several symbols in order to help the reader better understand the Revolution and the way people acted during this time. He shows that while emotion, desperation, and irrationality run high, humanity, justice, and morality are scarce. The blue flies, Madame Defarge’s knitting, and the ...view middle of the document...

The buzz of the great flies was loud again” (52). Darnay’s display of emotions excites the flies. They want drama and entertainment, so, seeing him start to fidget and show what he is really feeling makes them love the trial-show even more. They have no concern that this trial, if resulting in Darnay’s guilt, could break up this young romance. The flies might even prefer that ending because it would make the day that much more thrilling of a story to retell. The trial takes another emotional turn when Lucie gives her testimony. She discloses, “’The prisoner was as open in his confidence with me—which arose out of my helpless situation—as he was kind, and good, and useful to my father. I hope,’ bursting into tears, ‘I may not repay him by doing him harm today.’ Buzzing from the blue flies” (54). Although Lucie is testifying against Darnay, she reveals her true emotions. She wants to avoid saying anything that will cause the jury to find him guilty because she honestly does not believe that he is. Lucie feels great pity and sympathy for him, which she shows through her outburst and her tears. The flies grasp at this small display of weakness and emotion, hoping the trial will be even more entertaining. As the trial winds to a close the jury convenes to make its decision. Dickens says, “And now, the jury turned to consider, and the great flies swarmed again” (57). The spectators are getting jumpy with anticipation. Hoping for the most exhilarating outcome, which would be his death, they are disregarding the fact that his whole life will end. The flies feel no pity or compassion for the man. They dehumanize the situation because their main concern is their own pleasure. After conferring, the jury decides to acquit the accused. Darnay makes a hasty exit for Dickens states, “He had no opportunity of saying, or so thinking anything else, until he was clear of the Old Bailey; for, the crowd came pouring out put with a vehemence that nearly took him off his legs, and a loud buzz swept into the street as if the baffled blue-flies were dispersing in search of other carrion” (59). The flies are greatly disappointed in the dull ending. Instead of celebrating the fact that a man was saved from an unjust death that he does not deserve, they are disheartened by this resolution. The flies leave in search of other carrion, or the next big gossip and drama in the town. Through Dickens’ symbol of the blue-flies, he shows the cruelty of man; they find entertainment in another man’s misery and feel disappointment in his safe rescue.
Dickens’ symbolizes the revolutions’ injustice and cruelty through Madame Defarge’s knitting. Madame Defarge has been the lead villainess in the book. She is shown performing heinous crimes and making corrupt choices. However, in the beginning, the reader supports her misguided demeanor because they sympathize with her cause to free the peasants. As more is learned about her tragic past, the reader realizes that her motives are not as...

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