Characters, Setting, and Conflicts in A Tale of Two Cities

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Characters, Setting, and Conflicts in A Tale of Two Cities

In the novel, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens utilizes the characters, setting, conflicts, and other literary devices to convey the tone and establish an attitude about human beings and society.

Dickens connects this novel with the French Revolution. Many of his descriptions refer back to the Revolution and help convey the tone of depression. Dickens saw "similarities between the forces that led to the Revolution and the oppression and unrest occurring in England during his time" (Cliff notes). "Although he supported the idea of people rising up against tyranny, the violence that characterized the French Revolution disturbed him" (Cliff notes). Dickens was drawn to a play, The Frozen Deep, written by Wilkie Collins in which he acted. In this play, two men competed for one woman, like in A Tale of Two Cities, when Charles Darnay and Sidney Carton compete against each other for Lucie Manette. Dickens makes clear the characters in this novel through their actions rather than dialogue, which make this novel different from the rest. Dickens' social ideas in this novel are quite simple. He feels the French Revolution was inevitable because the aristocracy oppressed the being "of the poor, driving them to revolt" (Cliff notes). In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens attempts to show his readers the dangers of a possible revolution (Cliff notes). He relies on his descriptive skills to convey the significance of revolution and resurrection in the novel. In addition, he portrays the horror of mob violence throughout the novel, leaving the readers with images of waves of people crashing through the battered gates of the Bastille, for exampl...

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... Dr. Manette and he is returned to sanity. Sydney Carton's life changes from despair to honor. Because of the great change in Carton, Darnay's life is spared. The power of love and determination is clearly demonstrated by the resurrection of Dr. Alexander Manette, Sydney Carton, and Charles Darnay.

Sources Cited and Consulted:

Collins, Irene. "Charles Dickens and the French Revolution." Literature and History 1.1 (1990): 40-57.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. 1859. New York: Bantam, 1983.

Gross, John. "A Tale of Two Cities." Dickens and the Twentieth Century. Ed. John Gross and Gabriel Pearson. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962. 187-97.

Kalil, Marie. Cliffs notes on Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Cliff Notes Inc, June 2000
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