What are three quotes that foreshadow the theme of suffering in the book A Tale of Two Cities?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That there will be suffering in the narrative to follow is presaged in the famous opening sentence of A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." But, more specifically, the foreshadowing of the motif of suffering is indicated in several other parts of the novel. Here are three parts of the novel in which the theme of suffering is foreshadowed:

1. The suffering of Dr. Manette will later be fully revealed after a letter of his is discovered in the prison.

"Eighteen years!" said the passenger, looking at the sun. "Gracious Creator of Day! To be buried alive for eighteen years!"

These words are the reflection of Mr. Lorry, who has been informed by the messenger Jerry Cruncher that Dr. Manette has been freed from the Bastille where he has been imprisoned for eighteen years. At this point the reader or Mr. Lorry know not what put him into prison, but it is certain that the man has suffered.

2. In Book I, Chapter 5 "The Wine-Shop," it is foreshadowed that the blood of the aristocrats will spill at the guillotine later when the Revolution begins.

A large cask of wine has been dropped from a cart, and it breaks in the street. The people nearby, who are half-starved, hear it and rush from their homes. 

Some men knelt down, made scoops of their two hands joined, and sipped, or tried to help women, who bent over their shoulders, to sip, before the wine had all run out between their fingers.

One man who is covered in wine

...scrawls upon a wall with his finger dipped in muddy wine--BLOOD.
The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.

3. In Book III, Chapter 12, Ernest Defarge reasons that there should be a limit to the death on the guillotine. However, his wife does not agree, and foreshadows the suffering and death to come.

"Well, well," reasoned Defarge, "but one must stop somewhere. After all, the question is still where?" 

"At extermination," said madame.

When her husband notes how Dr. Manette, for whom he was once a servant, has suffered and how his daughter has suffered, Madame Defarge heartlessly replies to his urging to end her terrible vengeance,

"Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop...but don't tell me."

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A Tale of Two Cities

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