A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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Wine Symbol Icon
Defarge's wine shop lies at the center of revolutionary Paris, and throughout the novel wine symbolizes the Revolution's intoxicating power. Drunk on power, the revolutionaries change from freedom fighters into wild savages dancing in the streets and murdering at will. The deep red color of wine suggests that wine also symbolizes blood. When the Revolution gets out of control, blood is everywhere; everyone seems soaked in its color. This symbolizes the moral stains on the hands of revolutionaries. The transformation of wine to blood traditionally alludes to the Christian Eucharist (in which wine symbolizes the blood of Christ), but Dickens twists this symbolism: he uses wine-to-blood to symbolize brutality rather than purification, implying that the French Revolution has become unholy.
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Wine Symbol Timeline in A Tale of Two Cities

The timeline below shows where the symbol Wine appears in A Tale of Two Cities. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 5
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Outside a wine shop in the poor Parisian suburb of Saint Antoine, a cask of wine accidentally falls... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 22
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Madame Defarge, now the leader of the female revolutionaries, sits in the wine shop with her second-in-command, a stocky woman whose violent acts have earned her the name... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 2
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
...men covered in blood are turning the grindstone to sharpen swords. Frenzied, blood-smeared women pour wine into the men's mouths. The mob runs howling into the streets with their weapons. (full context)