A Tale Of Two Cities

545 Words3 Pages
Capitol Punishment: Toy of Evil Men

One might believe that because capital punishment plays such a large role in Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities, that Dickens himself is a supporter of it. This just simply is not true. Dickens uses capitol punishment as a tool to define the evil embodied in both the French ruling class, and the opposing lower class during the French Revolution; as well as comment on the sheep-like nature of humankind.
In the beginning of the novel, capital punishment serves as the "cure-all" for France’s social problems. After all, "death is nature’s remedy for all things, and why not legislation’s?" (62). It is this attitude that strikes fear into the lower class citizens, causing them to refrain from speaking out against their oppressors. Instead they are encouraged to "speak well of the law…and leave the law to take care of itself." (68). The fact is, that the blackened hearts of the aristocracy saw capital punishment as a convenience, rather than justice. The guillotine "cleared off (as to this world) the trouble of each particular case, and left nothing else with it to be looked after" (62). This negative light that the ruthless use of capital punishment casts upon the rulers of France is exactly what Dickens had intended.
When the revolution actually takes place, the Jacques become drunk with bloodlust. Their method...
Open Document