My Account

Use of Irony in A Tale of Two Cities

Length: 361 words (1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

Use of Irony in A Tale of Two Cities


In A Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens, uses a great deal of irony in the opening chapter to draw the reader into the story. By using a slew of contradictory statements in the opening paragraph, the author forces the reader to further investigate the meaning of the cryptic opening line: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." As the reader continues, he finds that the story is a dramatization of the circumstances surrounding London and Paris during the time period of the French Revolution.


The historical record of the conditions of life in France and England during the French Revolution were identical to the ways they are described in the story. Life for the nobles or higher class people was exquisite, while the lower class was crawling in poverty. People were constantly being nagged by thieves and petty criminals, causing the state of life in those two countries to be especially unbalanced.


To begin the story, the author uses a long paragraph almost perfectly describing life in Europe during the late 1700s. However, the paragraph consists of nothing but seemingly absurd statements about the "spring of hope" and the "winter of despair." By writing phrases such as ." was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness...," the author brings an ironic feeling to the whole story. Of course, the seasons of Light and Darkness could never coincide, but in France and England's situation during the time period of the story, that is exactly what life is like for the people living there.


Through the use of self-contradiction in the first chapter, readers are able to understand the plight of the countries of France and England in a darkly humorous way. The author's ironic first paragraph gives readers a chance to assess the French Revolution in a lighter way than any history reference will provide. There can be no doubt that this was the right move made by the author when writing the novel, giving it a legendary reputation among classic novels for its unforgettably famous quotes.


How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Use of Irony in A Tale of Two Cities." 02 Dec 2016

Related Searches

Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.

Return to