A Tale of Two Cities
How we cite our quotes:
For, they are headlong, mad, and dangerous; and in the years so long after the breaking of the cask at Defarge's wine-shop door, they are not easily purified when once stained red. (2.21.79)
Dickens’s opinion of the French Revolution is a complicated one: while the sort of poverty which causes people to grovel for wine in the streets is pitiable, the mob mentality which thirsts for blood is a terrible force in this novel.
For, the footsteps had become to their minds as the footsteps of a people, tumultuous under a red flag and with their country declared in danger, changed into wild beasts, by terrible enchantment long persisted in. (2.24.2)
The coming of war is signaled by the devolution of a nation into a pack of wild animals.
"Well, well," reasoned Defarge, "but one must stop somewhere. After all, the question is still where?"
"At extermination," said madame. (3.12.17-18)
If Madame Defarge had her way, there would be no real end to the violence of the revolution. As we see, "extermination" becomes an all-consuming and vastly unjust undertaking.