Dickens’ use of symbolism in 'A Tale of Two Cities'
Introduction: A TALE OF TWO CITIES contains an abundant use of symbols and symbolic imagery. Symbolism implies the use of an object, an idea, or a person in a larger or wider deeper sense than is literary conveyed by that object. Symbolism is an essential element in the structure of the novel.
The Woodman and the Farmer as Symbols: The Woodman symbolizes Fate and the Farmer is symbolizing Death. The author says that they work silently and no one hears them when they walk with their muffled steps. They work like Fate and Death silently and these are the two forces which destroy France. Journey of the Mail-Coach: The manner in which the writer describes the journey of the mail-couch is also highly symbolic. It is an uphill journey; the hill, the harness, the mud and the mail give the horses a tough time. The horses, however, continue with their drooping heads. There is also an atmosphere of suspicion all over. The rough journey and the air of suspicion around signifies the following crisis for the Manette family and the turmoil for the land of France. The Spilling of Wine: A striking use of symbolism is made in the chapter called, “The Wine-Shop”. A cask of wine gets broken in the street by accident and the wine is spilled on the ground. This red wine paints and stains the streets of Saint Antoine in Paris symbolizing the bloodshed and massacre looming over the country. Many people rush towards it to drink mouthfuls of wine. The people’s hands and foot are stained red by the wine. This symbol becomes perfectly explicit when somebody dips his fingers in the wine and scrawls upon a wall the word “blood”. The author comments on his action: “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.” The Mill, the Grindstone, and the Carmagnole: In the same chapter, Mill has been symbolized. Literally, a mill of course, grinds wheat into...
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