In Charles Dickens’, Tale of Two Cities, the author repeatedly foreshadows the impending revolution. In Chapter Five of Book One, Dickens includes the breaking of a wine cask to show a large, impoverished crowd gathered in a united cause. Later, we find find Madame Defarge symbolically knitting, what we come to find out to be, the death warrants of the St. Evremonde family. Also, after Marquis is murdered for killing the small child with his horses, we come to see the theme of revenge that will become all too common. The author uses vivid foreshadowing to paint a picture of civil unrest among the common people that will come to lead to the French Revolution.
In Chapter Five of Book One, Dickens includes the breaking of a wine cask to show a large, impoverished crowd gathered in a united cause. At this point in the novel, Lucie Mannette and Mr. Lorry had just arrived in Paris to find Lucie’s father. The author appears to get off of the subject to describe the breaking of the wine cask. This however, is much more significant than it would first appear. 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 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.”(Dickens 27). This goes to show how desperate the people are. The quote also infers that many people are unemployed. As a joke, 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.
Later, we find find Madame Defarge symbolically knitting, what we come to find out to be, the death warrant of the St. Evremonde family. Madame Defarge was a very hateful character. She hated the upper-class and was never able to get past this hatred. Thus, she and her husband become leaders of the Jaquerie, a group that is planning the revolution. Madame Defarge knits constantly. In Chapter Fifteen, we come to find out that what she is actually knitting is a register of those that she thinks must be killed. We then find out that she as decided that Charles Darnay should be included on her register. This foreshadows the unjust imprisonment and death sentence that Darnay is given later in the novel. This not only foreshadows the imprisonment of Darnay, but also how ruthless the revolution will get. People will die because of who they are related to, or who they work for. Madame Defarge’s knitting proves to be much more than knitting and it foreshadowed the savage violence that would occur later in the novel.
After the Marquis is murdered for killing the small child with his horses, we come to see the theme of revenge that will become all too common. When we are introduced to Marquis St. Evremonde, we immediately find him to be a selfish, arrogant aristocrat. The Marquis is so different from the common people that he looks at them as though they were as insignificant as cattle. Returning to his home from Paris, the Marquis’ carriage hits a small child and kills him. The Marquis is not the least bit apologetic and says “Its 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?”(Dickens 107) Soon after this event, the father, Gaspard, avenges his sons’ death by murdering the Marquis. Gaspard is later hung for his act, but he still is presented as a noble character. This foreshadows the future revolution by showing the lower class starting to rise up and defend themselves against the class injustice which is present throughout France at this time.
There were many instances in which the author foreshadowed the coming revolution. He used Gaspard’s revenge on the Marquis St. Evremonde as a way of showing the friction between the classes and as a way of showing the lower class stand up to the oppressive aristocrats. He also used Madame Defarge’s knitting, as a way of foreshadowing the way Charles Darnay, and many others, would be imprisoned and sentenced to death at the revolutionaries’ trials. In addition to that, the author used the instance of the wine cask breaking open in the street to emphasizes how poverty-stricken the common people of France were and how tumultuous a crowd of people united around a common cause can be. Charles Dickens used foreshadowing to great effect in his novel Tale of Two Cities.