The French Revolution and desperation

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The French revolution provoked one of the most culture changing events in French history. When the French rebelled against King Louie XVI, it shook the country, developing political uplift, bloodshed, and chaos. While there were a lot of emotions intensifying the violence, one emotion started the whole thing off, desperation. Desperation is a strong emotion, which can out rule any common sense, and this is portrayed clearly in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, Wine Cask scene.

In this scene, Dickens describes a crowded street, in which ‘a large cask of wine’ is spilled. Paragraph two begins with, ‘All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine’. This sentence implies the crowd’s desperation for wine. Wine can be used to drown sorrows, thoughts, and lives, so the people in the street must have felt so low, that they needed that wine to lose themselves, and let them forget their struggles. Most wealthy households would have had wine in the cellars, but the people in the street were poor, and could not afford any wine. This opportunity was one which could not be missed - a moment of solace. At this point, the people suspended their business, and Dickens states that the crowd ran, not walked, to the broken cask. This demonstrates the desperation of their situation. That simple word, run, prepares us for the rest of the story.

There are many dangers in life, but desperation will change your decisions, and the dangers will become non-existent. For example, ‘The rough, irregular stones of the street’, were said to be ‘designed expressly to lame all living creatures that approached them’. This implies that although the street was deemed dangerous, the crowds still flooded in to reach the wine, through the dangers. This relates to the French revolution, because there would have been disaster, tragedy and calamity on the way, but the French still remained on the path of destruction and violence. They would have been faced with warnings along the way, that there would be danger. The stones on the street could have shown danger to those in the street, warning them that they should not drink the wine; it was unclean from the floor. This again shows the determination and desperation that was produced from the group in the street - they were prepared to be hurt to have that taste of wine - and the French were prepared to be hurt in order to get their way, in the proceedings of the French Revolution.





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