Charles Dickens portrayed Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution best. It was this day in history 1789. All hell broke loose in the French capital.
Dickens authored A Tale of Two Cities. His opening words well describe France in 1789: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..”
The book’s closing words were uttered by the novel’s hero Sydney Carton. He was about to die. Execution by guillotine. He had fooled the authorities and was going to his death not as Sydney Carton, but a close friend. Carton’s last words: “It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done; it is a far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Between the two lines, Dickens does an excellent job of portraying the gore that was the French Revolution.
The Bastille was a royal fortress and prison. Better known as a prison. Many French persons had suffered and died within its walls. The building symbolized the tyranny of the French monarchs.
The attack on the Bastille and its falling marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Heads would fall. Thousands guillotined, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Today most believe the attack on the Bastille freed hundreds of persons jailed. Not so. Only 7. It was primarily being used at the time as a warehouse for guns and ammunition. It was attacked for what it symbolized and to obtain the guns and ammunition.
It was the first time the guillotine was used for such a large number of executions. A form had beheaded many in other countries in the centuries before. However, it was not until just before the French Revolution that the guillotine was refined and subsequently put to full time use by France for 200 years.
France considered the guillotine efficient and painless. The head was eliminated from the body swiftly. The last French execution via the guillotine was in 1977. In 1981, France abolished the death penalty and it has not been used since.
Why today Dickens and the French Revolution? I woke early and could not get back to sleep. Turned on TV. There before me was the movie A Tale of Two Cities. A 1935 film. The great actor Ronald Coleman playing Sydney Carton.
Later when I read today was the anniversary of the French Revolution and storming of the Bastille, I immediately knew what my blog for today would be.
Hope you have enjoyed.
I have several other matters I was going to share. However, I consider A Tale of Two Cities special. So it is the lone topic for today.
The homosexuality and false homophobia in the Catholic Church, the ICE raids later today, Barry, the latest British leak that Trump scrapped the Iran nuclear deal to spite Obama, and Key West off season, will have to await another day.
Enjoy your Sunday!