The Use of Mobs in “a Tale of Two Cities”

Topics: A Tale of Two Cities, French Revolution, Bastille Pages: 4 (1478 words) Published: October 3, 2011
The nature of mobs is a significant theme in “A Tale of Two Cities.” In both the movie and the book, mobs are portrayed as powerful. Mobs are made up of many people with the same thoughts and motives. Mobs can also be very destructive for that same reason. Dickens uses the mob mentality to depict the bloody horror and the ultimate success of the French Revolution.

In the book, Dickens portrays the people as having the hatred necessary for mob violence. Immediately, the book shows us an example how such hatred was created. When a youth’s hands were chopped off, “tongue torn out with pincers” and “his body burned alive” it shows the violence and torture that led to the French revolution. The youth represents the weak in French society just like the child who was run over by the noble Evremonde’s cart. In both instances, youths are killed by the nobles with little thought or concern. At the same time when these youths are killed the people cannot do anything to prevent the deaths. Therefore, the people do not have any justice and they are powerless. This feeling of helplessness created mobs and these mobs eventually caused the French revolution and used the “movable framework with a sack and a knife in it” called the guillotine.

The acts of violence committed by the revolutionary mob are among the most memorable scenes in the novel. An excellent example is the breaking of the Defarge’s wine cask. In the book, Dickens describes the rush to the spilled wine by saying, "The people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness to run to the spot and drink the wine... some men kneeled down, made scoops with their two hands joined and sipped." This scene portrays the weak and poor people stopping what they were doing and running to the streets and scooping wine with their hands. These people were acting like animals because they were desperate for happiness. In the beginning of the scene the people who were drinking off the streets were “light...
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