Saturday, 20 January 2018

Bring out the Symbolism in A Tale of Two Cities

Symbolism stands for the use of an object or an idea or a person in a greater sense than literally conveyed by that object, idea or person. The author uses symbols to provide a deeper sense to his writings, Symbols are generally veiled and these need to be understood by the reader. Anything that signifies something is a symbol, Even a word may be a symbol. Symbols eventually become a huge corpus of thoughts.

Symbolism in A Tale of Two Cities


A review of the names of the characters in A Tale of Two Cities reveals symbolic significance, Manette is the diminutive form of a man whereas Lucie means the luminous one. Sydney Carton ís the symbol of self-sacrifice and service; Charles Darnay stands for composure and kindness while Lucie stands for sweetness and grace, Madam Defarge represents cruelty, hatred, and revenge whereas Marquis Evremonde is the symbol of inhumanity and barbarism.

Blood is another significant symbol in A Tales of Two Cities. Gaspard of St.Antoine street dips his fingers in the red blood wine that has spilt on the street and scrawls the word "blood' on the wall. Blood becomes the symbol of the French Revolution. Tumblers on the street carrying the heads of the victims to be thrown into the river, Marquis Evremonde watches the blood red glow of the setting sound and rashly driving he runs over Gaspard's son, lying in a pool of blood.

The "Wine Shop" is the chapter in which the author describes how a cast of wine gets broken in the state by accident and the wine is spilled on the ground. In large mob rushes towards the spilling wine and tries to drink wine from the little pools. The result is that many people look red because of the effect of wine. In fact, the spilling of wine is symbol weekly represent a spedding of blood.

Echoing footsteps are introduced by the novelist as the symbols of those incidents that are to happen. In the tranquil atmosphere of Solo Square, London, Lucie hears the sound of footsteps. Sydney Carton remarks that a great crowd would come in the lives of all of then. Echoing footsteps is the Symbol of the coming of the French revolution.

Bastille recurs in the novel. It was a place where hundreds of prisoners were kept. Many poor and innocents had to suffer the callousness of the aristocrats. All the revolutionaries decide to storm the Bastille. Here the novelist intends to convey the fact that revolutionaries decided to kill all
those who had least pity on the poor- officials and aristocrats are crushed and put to death. The location and all the incidents thus turn out to be symbolically significant.

Like Bastille, La Guillotine is a symbol of hard and cruel activities. But in La Guillotine activities are carried out by the revolutionaries. If  Bastille stands for the tyranny of King Louis XVI, La Guillotine stands for the tyrannized behaviour of the revolutionaries. It is ugly and hateful as Bastille and La Guillotine becomes symbolic parallels of each other.

In the chapter, The Gorgon's Head, the chateau of the Evremonde is described as a stone building. Anything and everything surrounding the Chateau is stone. When the author says that in Chateau, there is no place is not seen, he wants to convey that Marquis had no soft corner Where stone as a perfect incarnation of cruelty and hard-heartedness. Charles Darney gives the ownership of the chateau and in doing so he symbolically refuses to adopt the cruel ways of life.

 A Tale of Two Cities' greatly deals with the symbols of life and death brought about by the resurrection of major and minor characters. The resurrection of Dr. Manette, Darnay, Carton are all in the symbolic plane of life and death. The symbol of death seems to win over the symbols of life in order to emphasize the final rebirth through death which is symbolized by Carton's sacrificial death. Blood, stone, and wine are the principle symbols in the moved.

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