Asst. Prof. Dr. Emine ?entürk
IDE 209 Academic Writing and Research Techniques I
26 December 2017
Justice and Judgement in Charles Dickens’s “A Tale Of Two Cities”
Equity is what we as a society respect as “right” based on our ethical concepts of morals, level headedness, law, religion, value and decency. No one is exempt from the law. Respect for the rule of law is is a critical necessity to protect justice in a democracy. It guarantees that all choices and activities of people are in line with a country’s laws. It moreover guarantees that individuals with control do not make choices around our lives in an self-assertive and unusual way, based on their personal hatret. if requirements and importance of justice are not provided well, it is called “social injustice”. Social injustice implies infringement of the rights of others; unsjust or unfair impact or treatment. In Victorian era, social injustice was prevailing and came into forward with the rise of Industrial Revolution. This Revolution became the cause of numerous contrasts among masses. The individuals related to upper class look on destitute individuals with scorn eyes. They never wanted to share any kind of thing with destitute individuals, lower class was inferior for them. Charles Dickens clarified the problems of social classes; poverty,child labor,lack of education and exploitation of masses in his novels. ” A Tale Of Two Cities” was one of them. The novel takes place during the French Revolution. The French individuals and England were tired of the social and financial imbalances enforced by the rulling monarchy. The aristocracy and clergy lived a life of extravagance while individuals in the Third Estate paid most of the charges and didn’t have as many rights. Dickens’ social thoughts in this novel are clear: the French Revolution was unavoidable since the aristocracy exploited and plundered the indigents, the situations led them to revolt. One of Dickens’ most grounded feelings was that the English individuals might erupt at any moment into a mass of bloody revolutionists. The Judgement was a problem too in A Tale of Two Cities, as delineated by Dickens, is that of a hypocritical and corrupt organization that favored the wealthy people and overlooked the plight of the destitute ones. Dickens remarks on the absurdity of the court and Dickens’ novel may be a delicate reminder that, given the opportunity, the indigent people will use the similiar brutal, even virulent strategies that they consider to be typical of the rich.
“Making his way through the tainted crowd, dispersed up and down this hideous scene of action, with the skill of a man accustomed to make his way quietly, the messenger found out the door he sought, and handed in his letter through a trap in it”.(45) This line demonstrates how everything about the court system had an attitude of aberrance.Dickens’ hatred with the corruption and untrustworthiness of the individuals in the court system counting the chief judge, members of the jury, and other spectators at the trial. “When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what he was soon to become. When toned down again, the unimpeachable patriot appeared in the witness-box”.(68)
Charles Dickens utilizes the blue flies as an imagery for the courtroom. The individuals of the court were beguiling and dishonest except Mr. Darnay. Indeed the judge in this chapter was blaming the guiltless person, making an unjustifiable trial. This corruption appalled Dickens so awful that he would compare the individuals in the courtroom to an item so revolting that flies would assemble around them as they talked of their evasiveness and favoritism. This represented an image of griminess and squander as Dickens depicts it. His thought went so distant into detail that he was able to provide the readers a recognition of this destructive justice called a courtroom. Another way Dickens adequately passes on his feelings toward the system is how the individuals in the courtroom seen Mr. Darnay and his punishment. Dickens helps us to see the coldness in the court when he says: “The accused, who was (and who knew he was) being mentally hanged, beheaded, and quartered, by everybody there, neither flinched from the situation, nor assumed any theatrical air in it. He was quiet and attentive; watched the opening proceedings with a grave interest; and stood with his hands resting on the slab of wood before him, so composedly, that they had not displaced a leaf of the herbs with which it was strewn. The court was all bestrewn with herbs and sprinkled with vinegar, as a precaution against gaol air and gaol fever”.(64) Dickens clarifies to the reader that the individuals in the courtroom were aware of his punishment and did not concern themselves that he would be put to death in such a brutal way. It would be just a typical day for the townspeople. In truth, they would pay for the hanging of the man and cheer a while later. This disgusted Dickens to see such primitive acts towards another member of the community, that he would expose the court so clearly. The feeling of the court was diminutive of heart that Dickens would reveal, to the final detail, of cruelty for the readers to vision.
Throughout the novel A Tale of Two Cities fairness, equality was served. Madame Defarge is making an effort to obtain justice throughout the novel. If anybody has a right to be sad about the abuses that the aristocracy suffered to the commoners, she’s the woman. After all, her sister was assaulted by the the brothers Evrémonde.. Her father passed away because of the grief he suffered. Her brother was murdered while he wa attempting to avange his sister’s honor. In all respects, she didn’t have the joyful childhoods. It’s totally reasonable that she’d want to play a enormous part in the revolutionary attempts to knock down the control of the aristocracy. This is the reason why she is determined to get revenge on Darnay. (an Evremonde) Her stubbornness in finding the rest of the race is evident when she says,”Tell wind and fire where to stop; not me!”(312) The idea that she is more irrepressible than the unavoidable elements is a scary thought,and shows the depth to which she seeks this justice. The nature of justice as represented in the novel shows how justice can take many forms if it is not done properly.
The guillotine, a machine designed to execute its victims, was one of the long-term symbols of the French Revolution. In A Tale of Two Cities, the guillotine symbolizes how revolutionary chaos gets institutionalized. According to the historian Eric Hobsbawm, “British people have generally tended to associate the French Revolution with the atrocities committed during the Terror only: In Britain…. this was the image of the Revolution that came closest to entering public consciousness, thanks to Carlyle and Dickens’s (Carlyle-inspired) A Tale of Two Cities, followed by pop-literary epigones like Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel: the knock of the guillotine’s blades, the sansculotte women knitting impassively as they watched the counterrevolutionary heads fall.” (5) Dickens is very sharp about his opinion of the guillotine during the French Revolution. He considered the guillotine as a horrible tragedy of justice. “Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrils carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in the one realisation, Guillotine”.(177)
Dickens brings the metaphor comparing wine to blood through the every course of the novel.He believed that while the destitute individuals was suffering under the administration of the aristocrats, it did not legitimize the broad scale death and demolition that took place in the French Revolution. Numerous innocent individuals passed away, such as one of his fundamental characters Carton. In addition, Dickens also presents a statement about the revolution’s impact on the population in the future.” Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind”.(353) He is basically saying that the revolution changed the course of history, and not in a great way. The injustice of the revolution had a ripple impact. This repeats the caution he gave in the starting of the book about revolutions in other nations like England being imminent.Dickens comments that the scene of individuals going to their death at the guillotine happens so frequently that individuals do not indeed take note it anymore. “So used are the regular inhabitants of the houses to the spectacle, that in many windows there are no people, and in some the occupation of the hands is not so much as suspended, while the eyes survey the faces in the tumbrils”.(289) No one stopped them or stepped in to intervene, because they were frightened, and because they grew complacent.They just let people go past them every day to their deaths.
To sum up, the French Revolution destroyed the peace of all families. Dickens clearly shows the difference between the rich and the poor and the feeling of revenge the poor have inside of them when they retaliate and manage to take control of France. The peasants and the aristocrats hate each other and they portrayed it by killing each other. The brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It showed how the execution and killing was contagious, like a disease. The Revolutionaries are so wrapped up in the revolution that they execute people before their guilt is certain. This shows how the English system is reluctant to change, even though it’s obviously corrupt, it assumes that whatever decision they make is always the right decision. This shows corruption that is similar to the French system where anything is justified if it is done in the name of the republic.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004.
Hobsbawm, E. J. Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two Centuries Look Back on the French Revolution. London: Verso, 1990.
Kristen Lentz. “Throughout the trial in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens compares the spectators to blue flies. eNotes, 17 Jan. 2013, https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/throughout-trial-dickens-compares-spectators-blue-380785. Accessed 26 Dec. 2017.
Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, December 11). Wine/Blood in A Tale of Two Cities. Retrieved December 17, 2017, from https://www.shmoop.com/tale-of-two-cities/wine-blood-symbol.html