What are eight examples of metaphor in A Tale of Two Cities?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As in all great works of litearture, A Tale of Two Cities contains many figures of speech, not the least of which is metaphor.  Here are some  examples:

  1. In the opening chapter, Book the First, Chapter I, Dickens compares the kings of England and of France as "those two of the large jaws."  The queens of England and France are metaphorically described as "the other two of the plain and fair faces."
  2. Chapter III of Book the First is entitled "The Night Shadows."  While a description of how people appear to Mr. Lorry as he rides in the Dover mail carriage, this phrase is also a metaphor for the inscrutableness of human nature; that is, the idea that "every human creature is constituted to be that profund secret and mystery to every other."
  3. The title of Chapter VII of Book the Second, "Monseigneur in Town," is metaphoric for the French aristocracy who have become so effect that they are no longer able to feed themselves.  For, the hands are too delicate and cannot perform the task of bringing a cup of chocolate to his lips.
  4. In Chapter XII of Book the Second ironically entitled "The Fellow of Delicacy" a misappropriated metaphor for Mr. Stryver, Mr. Lorry speaks in metaphor when he tells Styver, "you know there really is much too much of you!"  The metaphoric phrase compares Mr. Stryver's lack of finesse to "too much," suggesting too much crassness on Stryver's part to not understand Mr. Lorry's delicate innuendoes that Lucie does not wish to marry him.
  5. Chapter XIII of Book the Second entitled "The Fellow of No Delicacy" is an ironic metaphor for Sydney Carton, who declares his love to Lucie Manette with great care in contrast to Charles Darnay's rather banal declaration of love for her when he speaks with Dr. Manette. 
  6. In this chapter, Carton himself speaks in metaphor, comparing his insecurity to  "my degradation."
  7. He tells Lucie "I have had unformed ideas" in a comparison to his uncertainty. 
  8. He continues, saying that he has shaken off sloth and "fighting out the abandoned flight."   His "abandoned flight" is a metaphor for his inability to grasp fully his deep feelings for Lucie.
  9. In Chapter XIV Jerry Cruncher is referred to as "An Honest Tradesman" and he refers to himself as "a resurrection man."
  10. "The Echoing Footsteps" of Chapter XXI of Book the Second is the marching revolutionaries and those that will affect Lucie and her family.



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A Tale of Two Cities

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