Foreshadowing in a Tale of Two Cities

4 April 2017

Throughout A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Charles Dickens uses foreshadowing to further the plot of the novel. Dickens foreshadows the plot in a number of ways. In Chapter Five of Book One, Dickens the wine that spills into the streets as a metaphor for the blood spilled in the revolution. Outside of a wine-shop, a wine cask is broken in the street. Many people rush around the puddle on the ground trying to scoop it up and drink as much as they can. Dickens describes this by saying “All the people within reach had suspended their business…. Moisture wine-rotted fragments with eager relish” on pages 34 – 35.

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This goes to show how desperate the people are. A man writes the word “BLOOD” on a wall next to where the cask broke open. This foreshadows the violence of the unruly mobs later in the novel. This scene points out how impoverished the people of Paris are and how rowdy a crowd can become when they are unified under a united cause. The breaking of the wine cask also outlines one of the themes of the book, which is darkness, and gives a dark, gloomy atmosphere to the story and the motif ‘blood’. Another example of foreshadowing within the novel is Madame Defarge’s knitting.

Madame Defarge is a very hateful character in the book and she and her husband are the leader of the Jaquerie, a group a people that are planning the revolution. Madame Defarge’s knitting foreshadows the upcoming revolution, in that she is knitting a register of people that she believes must be killed. Also, her knitting foreshadows the imprisonment and death of Charles Darnay, as well as the violence that will soon come. Madame Defarge’s knitting proves to be much more than just knitting and it foreshadowed the savage violence that would occur later in the novel. The book introduces a new character called the Marquis St.

Evremonde in Book the Second: The Golden Thread chapter 7. Marquis is a selfish, arrogant aristocrat. The Marquis looks at common people as though they were as insignificant as cattle. Returning to his home from Paris, the Marquis’ carriage hits a small child and kills him. Everyone around him that was on the street are shocked by this incident but the Marquis is not the least bit apologetic and says “It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourself and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses? See! Give him hat” on page 129. Soon after this event, the father of the small child, Gaspard seeks revenge on the Marquis, by killing him. This foreshadows the future revolution by showing the lower class revolting and rising up against the class injustice which was present throughout this time of history in France. In the novel, there were many instances in which Dickens foreshadowed the coming revolution. The author used the instance of the wine cask breaking open in the street to emphasize how poverty-stricken the common people of France were and how tumultuous a crowd of people united around a common cause can be.

He also used Madame Defarge’s knitting, as a way of foreshadowing the way Charles Darnay, and many others, would be imprisoned and die at the revolutionaries trials. In addition to that, Dickens used Gaspard’s revenge on the Marquis St. Evremonde as a way of showing the friction between the lower class and the upper class and as a way of showing the lower class stand up to the oppressive aristocrats. Charles Dickens use of foreshadowing made his story more interesting and hade a great effect in his novel A Tale of Two Cities.

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