A Tale of Two Cities Essay

According to John R. Reed “retribution comes to all who transgress and victory to all who suffer. This was Dickens’ great hope and the moral foundation for the stories he told. ” This statement implies that those who forgive people who have done wrong to them will eventually triumph while those who commit vindictive crime against others will be punished. This statement is proven true in Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities. The work of literature presents the various consequences the characters face as a result of their actions. 1) CHARACTERIZATION: Through the contrasting characterization of Dr. Manette and Madame DeFarge Dickens reveals how one’s actions determine his/her fate. As a result of the insensitive measures taken by the young Evremonde brothers, Dr. Manette suffered 18 years of imprisonment in the Bastille. Although initially condemning the family, the doctor eventually learn to forgive them and even allows a member into his family, treating him like his son instead of his enemy. Because he does not allow his suffering to consume his life Dr.

Manette is able to live happily with his daughter, Lucie, Charles Darnay, and their child. On the other hand, Madame Defarge allows her desire to seek revenge on the Evremondes. This desire turns her into a person characterized by coarseness, vengeance, and hatred, one who has no compassion for anyone. Madame DeFarge goes as far as trying to destroy Lucie and her innocent child. Madame Defarge’s vengeful attitude proves self-damning as she is killed in her pursuit in killing Lucie. Dr. Manette and Madame Defarge underwent similar atrocities but each one faced different outcomes. 2) SETTING: A Tale of Two Cities is set in Paris during the French Revolution. This event occurred because of the malicious, selfish, and uncaring actions of the aristocrat. They freely persecute and deprave the poor. This is best exemplified in two scenes: first, when the peasant resort to scooping wine out of dirt because they are so hungry and starving while the aristocrat waste their money throwing unnecessary parties. Second when Marquis De St Evremonde runs over and kills a child and gives the child’s father 2 gold coins as means to clear his conscience.

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As a result of their action, the wealthy suffer terribly in the French Revolution as many are killed under the guillotine. Initially the peasants who have suffered terribly are victorious at the beginning of the revolution as they were liberated from aristocratic control. However, in the later stages of the French Revolution, the tables turn and it is the peasants who use their newly discovered power to harshly persecute the aristocrats through mass executions and imprisonment.

As a result of abusing their power man peasant will eventually die during the reign of terror. People who do wrong will eventually suffer terrible consequence and people who seek to do good will triumph. Madame Defarge, the aristocrats, and ultimately peasants who have given into the mob mentality will suffer painful deaths as a result of their harmful behaviors. In contrast, Dr. Manette desire to forgive allows him to live happily and peacefully.


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