A Tale of Two Cities Essay
In the epic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens, Dickens, on the surface, writes about the horrors of the French Revolution and the issues of the time period. With deeper analysis one can see his main argument, even from the first few famous sentences of the novel. Dickens dwells in the concept of doubles throughout the book, most always stating one end, like Death or Darkness, and contrasting it with the Life or Light. In the very first paragraph Dickens states, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… (7),” not only staying consistent with the concept of doubles, but highlighting the ambiance of the period. The age was marked with corruption, violence, and professed superior aristocracy that oppressed the lower class, and the essence of love, family, and unity. From the beginning of the novel to the end, Dickens rests on this central theme of one and the other just like the Yin and Yang.
More than the other side, Dickens focuses on the “worst of times” in the book. He mentions the idea and inevitability of death a multitude of times, and the looming and eerie darkness that lurks around every corner. Dickens really exemplifies the idea of death all around especially when the revolution started when he says, “So strangely clouded were these refinements by the prison manners and gloom, so spectral did they become in the appropriate squalor and misery through which they were seen, that Charles Darnay seemed to stand in the company of the dead. Ghosts all! The ghost of beauty, the ghost of stateliness, the ghost of elegance, the ghost of pride, the ghost of frivolity…all waiting their dismissal from the desolate shore, all turning on him eyes that were changed by death they had died in coming here (255).” Dickens evokes in the reader a feeling of depression and sorrow for the people living in this area. Even though it is a prison, the whole peasant city was the same way—lifeless and lobotomized zombies...
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