“Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers,”-Explain

Shape Shape

A Tale of Two Cities is a notable literary work by Charles Dickens. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of A Tale of Two Cities.


“Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seeds of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.”

The above quotation is cited from Charles Dickens’s (1812-1870) novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” Here, the author expresses a powerful idea about the cycle of history and human behaviour. He wants to say that if someone takes a group of people and subjects them to the same harsh conditions and injustices, they will react similarly and suffer similar consequences.

When a blacksmith hammers a piece of iron, normally, it changes in shape. If the same metal piece is hammered by others, it will change again similarly. Notably, the metal piece will bend and turn in the same way both times doesn’t matter who is hammering on it. Dickens uses this analogy to suggest that when societies are subjected to oppression and cruelty, the people within those societies will respond with similar behaviours and sufferings. The phrase “sow the same seeds of rapacious license and oppression over again” means that if someone allows destructive behaviours and unfairness to take root in society, the person will get the same negative outcomes. It’s like planting the same bad seeds and expecting different results, which is impossible.

 By mentioning this quotation, Dickens warns us that history tends to repeat itself. If we don’t learn from the past and make positive changes, we will continue to see the same kinds of suffering and injustice in our world. So, a society must break free from these cycles of cruelty and oppression to create a better future for all.