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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles dickens.

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Sample A+ Essay

Analyze Dickens’s methods of characterization. How do those methods shape the novel’s message?

In A Tale of Two Cities , Dickens repeatedly contrasts characters in stark terms: if one seems virtuous, then the other will be cruel and pitiable. Dickens then goes on to show that the virtuous and cruel characters are not as different as they seem. Like these pairs of characters, the cities of London and Paris prove to be surprisingly similar in Dickens’s novel. By establishing a pattern of false dichotomies, or contrasting pairs, Dickens warns that London may have to confront the same problems that tormented revolutionary France.

Readers often remember A Tale of Two Cities for its comic-book juxtapositions of good and bad characters, upright citizens and unrepentant sinners. Noble Darnay and vulgar Carton appear to be inverse reflections of each other, their physical similarities underscoring their obvious spiritual differences. Darnay marries, starts a family, and travels to France to help a friend; Carton drinks heavily and curses his wasted life. The two most prominent women in the novel—Lucie and Madame Defarge—live by conflicting moral codes. Golden-haired, pure-hearted Lucie exclaims that she has to kneel to her “honoured father,” whereas the dark, cold Madame invests all her energy in cataloguing the men she wants to kill. Dickens also contrasts the Madame with the saintly Miss Pross, who would never leave behind her motherly duties to begin a reign of terror. These pairs of polar opposites appear throughout the novel.

Despite their unforgettable differences, Dickens’s dichotomous characters have many beliefs and attributes in common. For example, Carton and Darnay share a deep love for Lucie and a sense of discomfort in regard to the past. (Carton regrets his drinking, and Darnay regrets his family ties.) Madame Defarge’s history—revealed long after we meet her—includes a great deal of personal tragedy, and Dickens makes clear that the Madame acts on the same feelings of love and loyalty that motivate Lucie throughout the novel. Miss Pross and Madame Defarge share a superhuman commitment to their goals, to the extent that neither surrenders in a climactic gunfight over Lucie. Again and again, Dickens emphasizes the similarities between his saintly and villainous characters.

Like these falsely dichotomous characters, the cities of Paris and London share several unexpected problems, traditions, and open wounds. At first, the cities seem wildly different. Paris is witness to brutal class conflicts, whereas British citizens are not whispering about bloody revolution. The novel’s opening scenes encourage us to see London as Paris’s superior neighbor: Lucie, the beautiful Londoner, rescues her father from a dingy Parisian prison and declares that the best possible medicine is to “bring him home.” Dickens associates London with the Darnays—a law-abiding, happily married couple with children—whereas he repeatedly links Paris to the Defarges—a nefarious husband and wife who distrust each other. But as the story unfolds, the differences between the cities begin to break down. London, Dickens reminds us, has recently had a wave of crime and capital punishment, and the anarchic British chimney-sweep—accusing passersby of treason for “the pleasure of wreaking vengeance”—closely resembles the deranged Parisian peasants who trample one another to drink from a broken cask of wine. London is not the tranquil and emphatically un-Parisian capital that it once seemed to be.

By establishing a pattern of odd, unpredictable doubles, Dickens reinforces his idea that London may fall victim to the crises of the French Revolution. Dickens, the son of a poor man, resented the harsh treatment of Britain’s impoverished citizens, and he used his novels to plead for economic justice. In A Tale of Two Cities , he shows that the world is full of misleading opposites: Heroes and villains alike must struggle with prejudices, doubts, and troubled pasts. The injustices that drove French peasants to wage war against the aristocracy could cause the same problems in England. Dickens leaves us with the haunting image of Lucie, knitting in her comfortable London home, but straining to hear distant, French footsteps in the streets.

A Tale of Two Cities SparkNotes Literature Guide

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“The Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens Essay

The story ‘The Tale of two Cities’ written by Charles Dickens is considered to be dedicated to the disclosure of French Revolution period; it is the classic work representing the archetypal characters through the concepts of good and evil interaction, physical and moral courage. The paper will be concentrated on the analysis of the story central heroes, Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, Lucie Mannette and Madame Defarge, combining the elements of violence and horror with the romanticism and realism style portrayed by Dickens.

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Charles Darnay is depicted by Dickens as a French aristocrat, living in England through his inability to accept the injustice and cruelty of French social system. The character is the embodiment of moral values and greatest virtues by his rejection of uncle Marquis Evremonde’s snobbism. Darnay, who is presented as the protagonist of the story, is the expression of nobility and morality. Moving to London, he marries Lucie Manette and they have a little daughter Lucie.

‘He had loved Lucie Manette from the hour of his danger. He had never heard a sound so sweet and deer as the sound of her compassionate voice; he had never seen a face so tenderly beautiful, as hers when it was confronted with his own on the edge of the grave that had been dug for him.’ (Dickens 131)

The events surrounding the character are filled with envy, evilness and hatred; nevertheless, the power of love and deep moral values make the character remain just and faithful. Dickens depicts Darnay as a flat character; despite this fact, he undergoes only minor changes in the flow of the novel. It is interesting to note that the story beginning shows Darnay as a noble character with aristocratic behavior and fleeing to England.

But gradually then character is turned into a loving husband and devoted father, who is a generous and kind son-in-law and a considerate friend at the same time. His attempts to help the servant can be characterized as naïve and noble gesture making him returning to France at the period of revolution oppression. Being imprisoned and helpless, Darnay has no opportunities to help anyone and himself either. Only the character’s faithfulness and devotion, as well as honors and appreciation, expressed in the world perception and attitude to close people and society saved him through actions of Carton and Dr. Manette. (Chisick, 2000)

Sydney Carton is presented as an unrecognized lawyer and heavy drinker; physically the character resembles Darnay, nevertheless, he is quite different. Carton is shown as worthless human being having no high social position and loving family to who he can devote his life. The loneliness was the only friend of his accompanying the character’s thoughts and actions.

‘I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.’ (Dickens, 99)

Nevertheless, it is necessary to stress that Carton never harmed anybody and even strived to provide some help he could. He helped in Darnay’s prosecution for treason allowing his colleague Stryver (a friend, who lacks ambitions and gets success due to Carton’s efforts) to reveal him. Carton’s assistance to people positioned the character as a positive personage; despite Carton’s slight hatred to Darnay through their mutual love with Lucie, he wished to become a friend of his, which characterizes carton as a kind-hearted person.

It is necessary to stress that Dickens managed to demonstrate Carton’s gradual changes in his attitude and position in the world; the novel events underline the idea that carton has got the real sense of life being ready to help others and even sacrifice his life. The depiction of Sydney Carton contributed to the central theme of the novel, underlining the symbolism of moral and physical courage. The readers gave an opportunity to see how people can sacrifice all they have for the only love of their love. Carton’s love for Lucie appeared to be the embodiment of happiness and greatest virtue. (Sims, 2009)

‘Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you’ (Dickens, 184)

The fact that Carton gave his life for Darnay, Lucie’s husband, depicted him as a noble, generous, warm-hearted person who believed in the power of love and came to the self conclusion that his life sense was Lucie’s happiness, the only person he lived for. (Stout, 2007)

Lucie Manette seems to be an angel in the world of evilness and hatred; blue eyes and golden hair made the image of this character marvelous attracting attention of all men. Lucie, who is physically and spiritually beautiful, is considered to be ‘lesser developed’ character in the story possessing the best qualities and virtues. The readers have an opportunity to judge Lucie analyzing her actions and attitude to surrounding people, rather than words. She is the inspiration of loyalty and love; her character managed to connect the lives of Darnay, her husband, and Carton, who gave his life for his love to her, in the power of love.

‘I think, Charles, poor Mr. Carton deserves more consideration and respect than you expressed for him to-night… I fear he is not to be reclaimed; there is scarcely a hope that anything in his character or fortunes is reparable now… remember how strong we are in our happiness, and how weak he is in his misery?’ (Dickens 207)

The flatness of Lucie character does not push her to indifferent position in the story; she is an important figure who indirectly symbolizes unconditional compassion and love. It is necessary to stress that dickens uses this character to underline the power of love and spiritual wealth in the atmosphere of hatred and violence. Her rare dialogues in the novel do not make her actions transparent to the readers; the author managed to depict successfully the symbol of kindness and justice, which is also transferred to Lucia’ and Darnay’s daughter.

The character of Madame Defarge is considered to be unrelievedly horrible; she is illustrated as cruel revolutionary combining the features of aristocracy hatred with evilness expressed to everyone interacting with her interests.

‘Madame Defarge was a stout woman…, with a watchful eye that seldom seemed to look at anything, a large hand heavily ringed, a steady face, strong features, and great composure of manner.’ (Dickens 35)

It is necessary to stress that throughout the novel Madame Defarge is busy with making a list of those, who are to die for revolution. The character is depicted as blood-thirsty with the unbounded lust for vengeance. Dickens underlined the fact that Madame Defarge and her family used to suffer cruel oppression, influencing her worldview and attitude to the society.

‘…imbued from her childhood with a brooding sense of wrong, and an inveterate hatred of a class, opportunity had developed her into a tigress.’ (Dickens, 369)

It is necessary to stress that the flow of story events shows Madame Defarge as less than human, characterized by the features of Greek tragedy moral world. The early life experience resulted in the woman moral oppression and internal evilness expressed to people.

The author lets the readers to understand how people, who suffered deprivation and old regime oppression from the very childhood, change their perception of the surrounding environment and react violently to the opportunities they get. Reading ‘The Tale of Two Cities’ provides a clear connection between the people making the Revolution and those, who suffered its conditions. It is necessary to stress that Dickens success fully illustrated a memorable, powerful and chilling character through Madame Defarge depiction, who was concerned about the Revolution flow in England. (Patterson, 2009)

The analysis of four different lives in the story ‘The Tale of two Cities’ written by Charles Dickens gave an opportunity to the reader evaluate the features of the characters living in the same era. The characteristics presented above demonstrate the idea that Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton can be perceived as the dynamic characters, while Lucie Manette and Mrs. Defarge as static ones. Such a position underlines the fact that the author strived to depict female characters for the novel events and mood background, symbolizing the contrast of evil and good, hatred and justice. Dickens managed to centralize these characters even through their rare communicative roles and dialogues, making special stress on dynamism of Darnay and Carton in the play.

The novel ‘The Tale of two Cities’ appeared to be a valuable contribution to the world literature. This masterpiece is generally recognized on the international level, through the author’s successful description of the most important virtues of humanity.

The description of four different lives in one epoch, living under the pressure of old regime and French revolution, disclosed the way in which people can change through weak willed nature and lack of resistance to internal interference. Despite the focus on evil and cruelty promotion, Dickens brightly illustrated the victory of good and justice. The author managed to underline the importance of love, showing how his characters were ready to sacrifice everything they had for human virtues and this great feeling.

Works Cited

Chisick, Harvey “Dickens’ Portrayal of the People in A Tale of Two Cities.” European Legacy 5.5 (2000): 645. MasterFILE Premier . EBSCO. Web.

Dickens, Ch. “A Tale of Two Cities: Easyread Edition”. ReadHowYouWant. 584p. 2009.

Patterson, Frank M. “Dickens’s A tale of Two Cities” Explicator 47.4 (1989): 30. MasterFILE Premier . EBSCO. Web.

Stout, Daniel “Nothing Personal: The Decapitation of Character in A Tale of Two Cities.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 41.1 (2007): 29. MasterFILE Premier . EBSCO. Web.

Sims, Jennifer S. “Dickens’s A TALE OF TWO CITIES.” Explicator 63.4 (2005): 219. MasterFILE Premier . EBSCO. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 22). “The Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.

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A Tale of Two Cities Essay

essay on tale of two cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens characterizes the settings in his novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” through indirect comparison and contrast between Paris and London during the French Revolution, a political and social upheaval from 1789–1799; “There was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face on the throne of England; there was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes

A Tale Of Two Cities

and husband. Carton, a true friend of the family by book two always had a “rough on the edges” sort of appearance. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to a drunken court room Carton who hates his job, hates his life, and has a difficult time finding true happiness. The first-time Carton see Lucie, he is immediately draw to her. Their friendship was rocky at the beginging in after Lucie announces her marriage to Darney but the two continue to be friends. Caront, still have strong feelings

Tale Of Two Cities

Tale of Two Cities Essay In the book, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, women during the French Revolution had many different views. The French Revolution was from 1789 to 1799. This was a very dangerous time period for everyone living in France. The events that happen during the revolution cause the women to think the way do. In A Tale of Two Cities, Madame Defarge sought revenge, Lucie Manette realizes that through the events she lives through they have made her stronger, and the Vengeance

A Tale of Two Cities is exactly as the title suggests: a tale of two cities. The two cities that the novel focuses on are London, England and Paris, France. London is still upset after losing the Revolutionary War with America, which the French had supported, while Paris is on the brink of its very own revolution: the French Revolution. While these two cities may seem so far away that the events could not be connected anyway, a person could not be more wrong. The story mainly follows two families

Major Characters Charles Darnay - Charles is a very respectful, courageous person with strict, uniform virtues. He rejects the Marquis’s ruthless aristocratic values, and uses this as motivation. Charles Darnay is the main character in Tale of Two Cities and as such plays an important role in the story. Sydney Carton - Sydney is an extremely dynamic character who at first seems to be impertinent, but proves to be a thoughtful genius. Sydney’s strong feelings for Lucie eventually were able to

current season in the story is autumn due to the leftover red and yellow leaves left on the remaining trees from the wood as Dickens describes. In literature, autumn can symbolize the coming of hard times as well as harvest and for the setting of Tale of Two Cities, this oncoming omen would be the French Revolution. Death and Fate help develop the theme of fate by being these silent forces that inevitably bring the France

perseverance and strength. One novel in particular, follows a family and revolutionaries before and during the revolution. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a novel that has implemented the French Revolution in its tale. Some may wonder, what was Dickens’ actual attitude towards this life-changing event? Is it possible to find out with his writing? Using characters from his tale such as Dr. Mannette, Charles Darnay and Madame Defarge, it will be argued that Dickens is mostly sympathetic towards

A Tale Of Two Cities Or A Tale Of Two Worlds?

Karen Vanderford Ms. Faris Honors English IV 29 May 2015 A Tale of Two Cities or A Tale of Two Worlds? A person’s class status in today’s world is based on what one owns and how society views an individual; nothing else really matters. Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities exemplifies the importance of social status through the way society views and treats its characters. Lucie Manette, from England, is the “golden thread” who everyone adores, especially a man named Sydney Carton, who is known

Tale of Two Cities

s Tale of Two Cities – Study Guide Questions 2008 Use these over the course of your reading. They are very helpful if you use them!! Book I: "Recalled to Life" Book I, Chapter 1: "The Period" 1. What is the chronological setting of this opening chapter? What clues enable us to determine "The Period"? 2. How does Dickens indicate the severity of social conditions in both France and England? 3. Who is the "king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face"? 4. How does Dickens

Change can be a good thing. Charles Dickens, a fine author of A Tale of Two Cities uses many themes throughout his work, but the main theme he focuses on is redemption. The idea of redemption has to do with someone changing their outlook on life and making a difference from what they used to be. An alcoholic becoming a hero, a thief becoming a honest man, a crazed man becoming a leader, and a bystander becoming honorable. The transformation of an ordinary person to someone who benefits many people

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Essays on A Tale of Two Cities

Prompt examples for "a tale of two cities" essays, the theme of resurrection.

Explore the theme of resurrection in "A Tale of Two Cities." How does the concept of resurrection manifest in various characters and situations throughout the novel, and what is its significance?

Character Analysis: Sydney Carton

Analyze the character of Sydney Carton. How does his transformation and ultimate sacrifice contribute to the themes and message of the novel?

The Contrasting Cities of London and Paris

Compare and contrast the cities of London and Paris as depicted in the novel. How do these settings represent different aspects of society and revolution?

The Role of Fate and Coincidence

Discuss the role of fate and coincidence in the lives of the characters. How do chance encounters and twists of fate drive the plot and shape the characters' destinies?

Social Injustice and Class Struggles

Examine the themes of social injustice and class struggles in "A Tale of Two Cities." How do these issues lead to the French Revolution, and what commentary does Dickens offer on society?

The Sacrifice of Darnay and Carton

Discuss the theme of sacrifice in the novel, focusing on the sacrifices made by Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. What motivates their sacrifices, and what do they achieve?

The Influence of History and Politics

Analyze the historical and political context of the novel. How do real historical events, such as the French Revolution, impact the story and its characters?

The Role of Women in "A Tale of Two Cities"

Examine the portrayal and significance of female characters in the novel, such as Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge. How do they contribute to the themes and conflicts of the story?

Violence and Revenge

Discuss the themes of violence and revenge in the novel. How do these themes drive the actions of characters and influence the outcome of the story?

Dickens's Commentary on Humanity

Explore Charles Dickens's commentary on the nature of humanity and the possibility of redemption as presented in "A Tale of Two Cities."

The Theme of Light Versus Darkness in a Tale of Two Cities

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How Charles Dicken Uses Death as a Liberation in a Tale of Two Cities

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Punishments for Breaking Laws in a Tale of Two Cities

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Analysis of Sydney Carton’s Character in a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Dickens’ use of foreshadowing in a tale of two cities, charles dickens’ use of fate as portrayed in his book, a tale of two cities, the popularity of the theme of death in the literature of the 17th-19th centuries, overcoming all odds in a tale of two cities, how charles dicken makes england a mirror of france in a tale of two cities, the theme of pollution of power in a tale of two cities, love and hatred in a tale of two cities, justice and sacrifice in charles dickens’ a tale of two cities, a tale of two cities: history of prisons.

Charles Dickens

Historical Novel

  • Book the First (November 1775): Jerry Cruncher, Jarvis Lorry, Lucie Manette, Monsieur Defarge, Madame Defarge, Jacques One, Two, and Three, Dr Alexandre Manette
  • Book the Second (Five years later): Mrs Cruncher, Young Jerry Cruncher, Charles Darnay, John Barsad, Roger Cly, Mr Stryver, Sydney Carton, Miss Pross, "Monseigneur", Marquis St. Evrémonde, Gaspard, The Mender of Roads, Théophile Gabelle
  • Book the Third (Autumn 1792): The Vengeance, The Seamstress

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essay on tale of two cities

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A tale of two cities.

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                          In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, a variety of themes are portrayed. Dickens relates his novel to our everyday life, filled with goodness, morals, and love. Love has been infamous for its ability to cause drastic changes in lives and behaviors this is no exception for Sydney Carton. Religions have always taught of how to forgive wrong doings, and give others a second chance much like how Carton eventually does. Love finds a way into his heart, and it weakens his policies and beliefs, but brings out the goodness within himself that he knows exists but never let it grow. In the end, he redeems himself in such a way, that his motives for his actions have made a complete 180turn. He also learns the magnitude of how great a simple good deed can be, and how much happiness it can bring others. .              The essential goodness of humans has always existed, but it a matter of whether we acknowledge it. In religion, our Creator tells us that we are forgiven and in Christianity, the bible says: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him [John 3:16-17]. God gave humans a second chance to prove themselves to him, and if God is willing to do it, then we should do the same for ourselves. Sydney Carton has the potential to do good deeds, but hear never found the reason for it till he met Lucie ManetteI have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality He doesna want to disappoint her, so he strives to begin fulfilling to his full potential. God love for us is so great, he gave up his only Son to save us, whereas Sydney love is so great for Lucie that he gives up on his own heart for the sake of her happiness. Eventually in the story, he also gives up his life to save the life of her loved one I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you.

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Essays Related to A Tale of Two Cities

1. tale of two cities.

essay on tale of two cities

A Tale of Two Cities- A Historical fiction A Tale of Two Cities is a novel categorized as historical fiction. ... A Tale of Two Cities is parallel to history in many different respects. ... In A Tale of Two Cities, practically all of the French peasants lived in poverty. ... There are many events in France that makes A Tale of Two Cities historical fiction. ... A Tale of Two Cities is well portrayed by Dickens as historical fiction. ...

  • Word Count: 1958
  • Approx Pages: 8
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  • Grade Level: High School

2. Tale of Two Cities: Classic?

essay on tale of two cities

The title of this book was A Tale of Two Cities. So did this new strategy make A Tale of Two Cities a classic? ... A Tale of Two Cities has been criticized for its lack of humor. ... In A Tale of Two Cities, verbal irony occurs on almost every page. ... A Tale of Two Cities is a universally recognized classic. ...

  • Word Count: 1330

3. A tale of two cities

In A Tale of Two Cities, basically all of the normal French citizens were poor. ... The only two historical characters A Tale of Two Cities are King George III and Charlotte Sophia. ... The Bastille, a prison, appears in A Tale of Two Cities; this was actually a real prison. ... A Tale of Two Cities is a historical fiction. ... A Tale of Two Cities is set in 1775. ...

  • Word Count: 1221

4. Tale Of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

Tale of Two Cities In the fictitious novel Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens, lays out a brilliant plot. ... He went on to write many other novels, including Tale of Two Cities in 1859. Tale of Two Cities takes place in France and England during the troubled times of the French Revolution. ... Tale of Two Cities is a very long and detailed historical novel. ... It is good to read literary classics, however, Dickens Tale of Two Cities would not be one of my favorites....

  • Word Count: 1362

5. A Tale Of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

5/6/02 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens reflects on the historical event of the French Revolution. Dickens was first inspired to write A Tale of Two Cities after he played at part in the play The Frozen Deep, by Wilkie Collins. ... When Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities, the development of the characters reflects on the historical reality of the French Revolution. ... A Tale of Two Cities reflects on the historical setting in the development of the characters, the theme, and the tone. ...

  • Word Count: 648
  • Approx Pages: 3

6. A Tale of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

A Tale of Two Cities Have you ever sacrificed yourself just to help somebody else? ... The book I have recently finished is A Tale of Two Cities written by Charles Dickens. ... A Tale of Two Cities takes place in Paris, France and London, England during the troubled times of the French Revolution. ... A Tale of Two Cities has quite an interesting plot. ... A Tale of Two Cities was a good book. ...

  • Word Count: 919
  • Approx Pages: 4

7. A Tale of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

Discuss how the first six chapters of A Tale of Two Cities paints a picture of the historical period. Charles Dickens Is famous for his descriptive style of writing, and this trademark is not left out in A Tale of Two Cities. ... In A Tale of Two Cities, the first six chapters provide a deep understanding of the filth and poverty that everyday people lived in during the period Dickens writes about....

  • Word Count: 374
  • Approx Pages: 1

8. Foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

Charles Dickens uses foreshadowing excellently by hinting, here and there, events that would unfold in his book, A Tale of Two Cities. ... Examples of foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities are Dr. ... For an instant he had his two hands at his ears, for another instant, even had his two hands laid on Darnay's lips.... As we can see there are many well thought out examples of foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities. ...

  • Word Count: 517
  • Approx Pages: 2

9. Tale Of Two Cities

essay on tale of two cities

"Social Criticism in Literature, As Found in George Orwell's Animal Farm and Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities." ... George Orwell and Charles Dickens wrote Animal Farm and A Tale of Two Cities, respectively, to express their disillusionment with society and human nature. ... A Tale of Two Cities also typifies this kind of literature. ... A Tale of Two Cities is a love story which chronicles the lives of Charles Darnay, a Frenchman who renounced his link with the aristocracy, and Sydney Carton, a wastrel who lived in England. ... Animal Farm and A Tale of Two Cities were written ...

  • Word Count: 1501
  • Approx Pages: 6

10. Sacrifice in A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities clearly represents the effectiveness of paradoxes immediately in the first paragraph of a novel. ... In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay, Doctor Manette, and Sydney Carton effectively prove the notion that sacrifice is a crucial part of achieving happiness in life and the best way to express love for one another. ... On two occasions, Charles sacrifices his freedom as he attempts to help people his family has victimized. ... It can be inferred from A Tale of Two Cities that mental or physical sacrifice is necessary to achieve happiness. ...

  • Word Count: 626


  • A Tale of Two Cities

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Write your text here, during the french revolution, a tale of two cities by charles dickens.

A Tale of two cities is a compelling tale written by Charles Dickens. The tale takes place in London and Paris. Main characters Dr. Manette, Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, and the Defarges are chronicled before the French Revolution and when the revolution begins throughout France. The author Charles Dickens explores the economic disparity between rich and poor within in the two cities and topics during enlightenment such as revolution in political thinking. In addition to establishing the time period Charles Dickens explores themes such as true friendship and love. What makes this story great is the use of the supporting characters such as Jarvis Lorry, Jerry Cruncher, Mr. Stryver, and Marquis Evrémonde to really develop the story and connect it all together.

Heartlessness in the Face of Humanity

The French Revolution is a war between the peasants and the aristocrats. A Tale of Two Cities is by Charles Dickens and is set in England and France from 1775-1793. The French Revolution is starting to come about because the French peasants are trying to model their revolution after the American Revolution. King Louis XVI of France supported the colonists in the American Revolution; therefore, it is ironic that he does not help the poor, distressed, and oppressed peasants in France. The peasants are trying to rise against the oppressive aristocrats because the rich are unfeeling and mean towards the poor serfs. In A Tale of Two Cities, the symbols help represent the theme of man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man because the symbol of the scarecrows and birds of fine song and feather is helpful in understanding the differences between the poor and the rich, the Gorgon’s head is meaningful because it shows that change needs to occur, and the knitting is insightful because one learns that evil can come out of good intentions.

Theme of Inhumanity Invades in Symbols

Cruelty, blood, and gore are all accurate descriptions of the French Revolution. This horrific time is correctly represented by the twisted and elaborate plot of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. During this time, pity and sympathy leave the hearts of both the revolutionaries and the aristocrats. The hatred felt by the revolutionaries towards their oppressors seizes control of their hearts and results in more ruthless and savage behavior towards their old persecutors. Man, himself, becomes a more brutal race in this time of animosity. He has no compassion towards his fellow man, resulting in extraordinary bloodshed. Throughout A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens conveys the theme of inhumanity by using symbols, especially scarecrows, blue-flies, and dogs.

Tale Of Two Cities Sacrifice Analysis

The French Revolution was a time of chaos and uprising in France during the mid-19th century that divided the French people. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a novel that is set during this tumultuous time in history. During this period of time, the people of France made many sacrifices. Sacrifice is a common theme that is developed throughout this novel. One reason many people make sacrifices is for love, and throughout the novel this theme is developed through the characters Miss Pross, Doctor Alexandre Manette, and Sydney Carton.

The Ferocity of the Peasants

During the French Revolution, there were many controversies between the peasants and the aristocracy. In A Tale Of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, most of the peasants are revolutionaries fighting against their nobility. Dickens’ use of imagery throughout the novel tries to sway the reader’s opinions about the peasants. Charles Dickens depicts the French Revolution well with the images of the novel as well as the tone he uses. Throughout the novel, Dickens illustrates through his imagery how the peasants change from poor, secretive, and then on to vicious.

A Tale Of Two Cities

Foreshadowing is used in many of Charles Dickens' novels. It can bring about a sense of wonder and imagination of what might occur later in the novel. The conceopt of foreshadowing means to present a warning sign, or hint beforehand. Dickens is able to use this concept in three examples. The threatening footsteps in the Manette home, Gaspard's illustration of "blood," and Mr. Lorry's dream of brinnging a man back to life, are all examples of warning or foreshadowing. that Dickens' uses in his novel A Tale of Two Cities.

Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities

The French Revolution can best be described by Dickens in the opening phrase of his novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Dickens 1). A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens in 1859, takes place in London and Paris during the French Revolution. The book tells the story of a circle of people living and fighting during this dangerous time. These characters include Dr. Manette, a doctor and prisoner of the Bastille for eighteen years who is just reunited with his lovable daughter, Lucie, for the first time since his imprisonment. Mr. Lorry is a banker and family friend of the Manette’s and Charles Darnay is a kind, generous man with a corrupt, noble family who marries Lucie. The Defarges are a married couple who lead the peasants’ revolt in the Revolution, and Sydney Carton is a lawyer’s assistant with a seemingly wasted life, but finds his life’s worth in the end. From these characters and this story, the theme of sacrifice is well displayed, especially the sacrifice for loved ones. The book shows us that love overcomes evil every time through the sacrifices of Miss Pross, Dr. Manette, and Sydney Carton.

Retelling the Revolution

The French Revolution began in 1789, which caused an uprising against the political and social ways of the aristocracy. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens takes place in the midst of the Revolution even though Dickens wrote the novel about 60 years after it ended. Dickens obviously favors the French peasants and wants the reader to see the Revolution from their point of view, using different literary elements to do so. Foreshadowing is one of the main and most prevalent elements Dickens uses in the novel. Charles Dickens uses foreshadowing in more ways than one, such as the looming French Revolution, to skillfully enhance the reading experience.

Ambiguous Characters In A Tale Of Two Cities

Charles Dickens writes this book explaining the French Revolution, in which the social and economic systems in France had huge changes and the French monarchy collapsed. This causes high taxes, unfair laws, and the poor being mistreated. Charles Dickens shows that cruelty of other people will lead to a revolution and in addition to the revolution more cruelty will occur. He explores the idea of justice and violence through the use of ambiguous characters with positive and negative qualities, meaning that they have to different sides to them; for example, Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, and Dr. Manette. Throughout the story of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles dickens uses ambiguous characters to shows how violence and cruelty can be stopped through the power of true sacrifice.

A TAle of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities In every great novel, there is a theme that is constant throughout the story. One of the better known themes portrays the fight of good verses evil. Different authors portray this in different ways. Some use colors, while others use seasons to show the contrast. Still, others go for the obvious and use characters.

Thesis on a Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens’s voice varies from being sympathetic with the revolutionaries, to a feeling of discord with their method of revolting. A Tale of Two Cities revolves around the French revolution and the tension in England. Dickens gives the tale of a family caught in the conflict between the French aristocracy and radicals. In the course of the book, the family handles extreme difficulty and obscurity. Dickens’s neutrality, though sometimes wavering from side to side, is apparent throughout each book in the novel.

Tale Of Two Cities Motifs Essay

Throughout A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens repeats a number of symbols and motifs. By employing these two literary devices throughout the duration of the story, Dickens is working to emphasize the importance of these specific components of the story. Motifs and symbols represent repeating ideas that help the reader to understand, as well as highlight the author’s central idea. Dickens employs the usage of symbols and motifs, such that by using both he adds a layer of significance and deeper meaning to actions, people, as well as objects. Additionally, by using symbols and motifs, Dickens is able to create a story in which both the characters, and the plot are interwoven.

A Tale of Two Cities Essay

A Tale of Two Cities Essay Throughout history, the powers of love and hate have constantly been engaged in a battle for superiority. Time and time again, love has proven to be stronger than hate, and has been able to overcome all of the obstacles that have stood in the way of it reaching its goal. On certain occasions, though, hate has been a viable foe and defeated love when they clash. In the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens presents several different power struggles between love and hate.

Tale Of Two Cities Metaphors Analysis

The book has four metaphors, all of which have a significant part in the understanding of the novel. The first metaphor the readers encounter is the broken wine cask. The wine cask represents the plight of the poor and the blood of the revolution. The scene explicitly describes the people literally licking the streets and dripping the wine into the mouths of their children. The novel states, “Some men kneeled 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. Others, men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women’s heads, which were squeezed dry into infants’ mouths; others made small mud-embankments, to stem the wine as it ran; others, directed by lookers-on up at high windows, darted here and there, to cut off little streams of wine that started away in new directions; others devoted themselves to the sodden and lee-dyed pieces of the cask, licking, and even champing the moister wine-rotted fragments with eager relish.” The novel also shows the wine cask as a metaphor for the blood of the revolution. The red color of the wine is similar to that of rich, red blood, shed by many because of the plight of the poor experienced in France. The second metaphor would be revealed as the grind stone. The grind stone, which was used to grind the food the poor needed so badly, later became used to sharpen the tools the poor would use to overthrow the government. The grindstone became a metaphor of killing and empowered poor throughout the novel. The third metaphor is the shadow. A shadow represents the great unknown, the great unexpected. Not a single person may prepare for the unknown. None of the characters could prepare for the events that came about in the plot, such as the denouncement of

A Historical Interpretation of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

History has not only been important in our lives today, but it has also impacted the classic literature that we read. Charles Dickens has used history as an element of success in many of his works. This has been one of the keys to achievement in his career. Even though it may seem like it, Phillip Allingham lets us know that A Tale of Two Cities is not a history of the French Revolution. This is because no actual people from the time appear in the book (Allingham). Dickens has many different reasons for using the component of history in his novel. John Forster, a historian, tells us that one of these reasons is to advance the plot and to strengthen our understanding of the novel (27). Charles Dickens understood these strategies and could use them to his advantage.

More about A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale Of Two Cities Essay

essay on tale of two cities

A Tale Of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities A Tale of Two cities is a book that is set around the time of the French Revolution, and is authored by the English writer Charles Dickens. The events throughout the book show how Lucie, Dr. Manette, Mr. Lorry, and other characters are connected. The horrendous actions going on around them as a result of the people's’ hopelessness is evident. The cruel murder of a man that didn’t properly greet monks, the blatant disregard of friends’ lives, and the injustices going on within the jail La Force, and many other events in Dickens’ novel prove “Without hope…” First, a man is murdered for not properly greeting some monks. Being guided by Christian pastors France “...entertained herself, [with] sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off,…

Violence In A Tale Of Two Cities

Dickens writing style in A Tale of Two Cities is gothic and eery. Dickens writing is abounding of violence and oppression and he utilizes diction that musters a feeling of brutality and pity toward the characters. Violence is a prevailing pattern in A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens goal is to help the reader experience the violence and bloodshed families experienced during the French Revolution. He achieved this goal by adding characters and symbols that have violent characteristics or characters…

Justice In A Tale Of Two Cities

Justice is something that people use to get revenge when they have been wronged, and should be used in order to fairly punish an unacceptable action instead of getting back at someone with the same action. In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, characters seek revenge by inflicting the same pain upon the person who has done them wrong. By doing this, Dickens shows his audience the actions of the French are similar to the conflict that was happening in England at the time. Also during the…

Secrets In A Tale Of Two Cities

Secrets of A Tale Of Two Cities “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts” (Says Charles Dickens). I compare this quote to all the secrets in the novel A Tale Of Two Cities. Because this quote stets some of the things that some people who have had secrets should have thought about. This is seen through Madame defarge's knitting, Jerry Cruncher lying to his wife about fishing and Sydney Carton switching places with Charles Darnay.…

Duality In A Tale Of Two Cities

“The voice of the submissive man who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission” (114-115). This line from A Tale of Two Cities is a simple portrayal of how ignorant the rich can be to the poor, no matter the circumstances. In this work of historical fiction, author Charles Dickens’s narration of the many aspects and events of the French Revolution portray violence in a slightly different way. He sees violence from the peasant 's’ point of view: as a last resort to achieve the…

Tale Of Two Cities Metaphors

Metaphors can be used to enhance one’s perception about an unknown topic. Metaphor contributes to the theme of revolution in A Tale of Two Cities by giving the reader a better understanding of the reality and violence of the revolution. The broken wine cask in book one chapter five is the first major extended metaphor describing the desperation for a revolution. In this chapter, a cask of wine is dropped and when it reached the ground “the hoops had burst and it [...] shattered like a…

Rebirth In A Tale Of Two Cities

Zach Hanger Mrs. Godard Brit Lit Honors- 7 April 19 2017 Dicken’s character development in “A Tale of Two Cities” frequently consists of a recall to life or a rebirth. In fact, some experience multiple rebirths or resurrections. While the recalls to life can have spiritual or grotesque undertones, they also contain a common themes. Whether they are literal or figurative, each instance comprises of an attempt to give someone a chance to live again, or at the least a chance to change the way…

Foils In A Tale Of Two Cities

Foils are two characters that contrast each other in order to establish their personalities quickly. They have been used for centuries to bring depth and complexity to characters without much effort. Charles Dickens uses his foils to bring light to the other's personal situation or experiences. In A Tale of Two Cities, Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge are foils of each other, with their conflicting themes of the "golden thread" and darkness. Lucie Manette shows kindness and compassion while…

A Tale Of Two Cities Analysis

revolution is the background of A tale of two French cities. Charles dickens wrote a novel in which he told the story of two cities and also the condition of the cities in the 18th century. The purpose of study is to understand the elements of French revolution in a tale of two cities. The philosophers of that time awakened the peoples of that era. Through their ideas the public of France had raise their voices for their rights. The aim of the revolution is to bring change. That time the…

Tale Of Two Cities Annotations

In the first chapter (six sections) of A Tale of Two Cities Dickens shows us the backstory and events of what is going to be shaping the characters throughout the whole book. In the first paragraph of the whole book Charles Dickens already begins telling us the main theme of the book and how it is going to play out. He was doing this by comparing and contrasting certain concepts such as the best and the worst of times, or he was using an analogy like light or darkness. The reason that he was…

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5 best topics for A Tale of Two Cities essay

The Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most well-known works in the history of literature. As well as a being historical account of the French revolution and its causes it explores a variety of moral, social and philosophical issues. For these reasons it's a common subject for essays. The biggest problem with writing an essay on it is choosing a topic, because dealing with the novel as a whole can easily fill another book. Here are five possible topics.

  • Resurrection. Dickens uses the theme of resurrection frequently, relating it to both people and societies. He stresses the injustice of pre-Revolutionary France, where peasants could be executed without trial at the whim of an aristocrat. That society is now dead but France will be resurrected as a new sort of nation. Similarly, at the end of the novel Sydney Carton is spiritually resurrected after dying to save Darnay.
  • Sacrifice. Sacrifice is a major element of the novel. Miss Pross sacrifices her own happiness to give Lucie every chance in life, for example; Dickens stresses the extent of her selflessness. Carton makes the ultimate sacrifice; he voluntarily gives his life by impersonating the condemned Darnay and being executed in his place. His motivation is to make Darnay's wife Lucie, whom he loves, happy.
  • Violence and revolution. Dickens shows clear sympathy with many of the aims of the French revolutionaries and portrays the degeneracy of the aristocracy vividly; foe example in one scene an aristocrat kills a child with the wheel of his carriage and casually throws the parents a coin to compensate for their loss. However he also illustrates the indiscriminate violence unleashed by the revolution itself, and uses the unjust death sentence imposed on Darnay, a virtuous man, to show this.
  • Light and darkness. Light and dark are used as metaphors for good & evil. Arrests happen at night. Dark blood on snow slowly spreads a stain, as evil spreads through the Revolution. Madame Lafarge is followed by dark shadows.
  • Duality. The novel is built around opposing pairs. The two cities of the title are stable but corrupt and socially divided London, and Paris with the high ideals and violent reality of the Revolution. Lucie and Madame Lafarge represent good & evil women. Carton and Darnay have a very close physical resemblance but Darnay is highly moralistic and worthy, while Carton (until he rises above himself) is dissipate and lazy.

Any one of these topics is a good basis for an essay. Each of them can be shown by many examples from the novel, which provides a lot of material to write about and gives the opportunity to produce an interesting, in-depth piece of work.

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