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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

Justice and Judgment Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Mr. Stryver then called his few witnesses, and Mr. Cruncher had next to attend while Mr. Attorney-General turned the whole suit of clothes Mr. Stryver had fitted on the jury, inside out; showing how Barsad and Cly were even a hundred times better than he had thought them, and the prisoner a hundred times worse. Lastly, came my Lord himself, turning the suit of clothes, now inside out, now outside in, but on the whole decidedly trimming and shaping them into grave-clothes for the prisoner. (2.3.102)

The operating metaphor here is simple: an argument in court fits a story around an accused man in the same way that a tailor fits a suit. Dickens plays with this metaphor, stringing out the multiple possibilities of its usage until it becomes an almost farcical insight into the workings of the law.

Quote #5

From the dimly-lighted passages of the court, the last sediment of the human stew that had been boiling there all day, was straining off. (2.4.1)

The "stew" of humanity which attends court becomes a marker of the sort of attraction that famous court cases had for the populace. All of England seems to have turned out to see Darnay tried for treason.

Quote #6

The grindstone had a double handle, and, turning at it madly were two men, whose faces, as their long hair flapped back when the whirlings of the grindstone brought their faces up, were more horrible and cruel than the visages of the wildest savages in their most barbarous disguise. False eyebrows and false moustaches were stuck upon them, and their hideous countenances were all bloody and sweaty, and all awry with howling, and all staring and glaring with beastly excitement and want of sleep. (3.2.31)

We’re not given an actual account of the fighting which goes on during the revolution. The indirect accounts of men working the grindstone to sharpen weapons, however, might be more gruesome than the fighting itself. By not directly depicting the events of the day, Dickens forces us to imagine just how all of the weapons came to be stained with so much blood.

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