Free Essays - A Tale of Two Cities - Critical Analysis

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A Tale of Two Cities - Critical Analysis

In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote the book A Tale of Two Cities. In A Tale, Dickens writes about the French Revolution, and relates the events in the lives of two families, one French and one English. In addition to writing about a very interesting fiction plot, Dickens also tied in a wide variety of important themes and sub plots that keep the reader interested as well as portraying very valuable lessons for us even today. He chose very archetypical characters for the book, all strengthening or portraying one of the themes. The main themes are revenge, courage and sacrifice, and resurrection.

One theme involves revenge; the evil effects of revenge bring out one's bad side. Although it occurs many times in A Tale, Madame Defarge is the main character representing this theme. Her sister and mother were assaulted by the brothers Evrémonde. After this, she vows to herself that all members of the Evrémonde family will die. She turns into a ruthless killer because she must get revenge. When her husband tells her to stop, she replies, "tell the wind and fire to stop, not me" (pg 338). We now see that she is a person teeming with hatred. Revenge is so powerful. When she found out Charles Darnay is an Evrémonde and is planning to marry Lucie Manette, she began to knit his name into the shroud she was making, symbolizing his impending death. Also, she tried to kill Lucie and her daughter, just because they were related to an Evrémonde, even though Darnay (Evrémonde) denounced his heritage and disconnected all relationships to them. Lucie was in a state of mourning so Defarge jumped on the situation.
"She will be at home, awaiting the moment of his death. She will be mourning and grieving. She will be in a state of mind to impeach the justice of the Republic. She will be full of sympathy with its enemies. I will go to her." (p. 349)
She had no mercy, her main goal was to kill all descendants of the Evrémonde family, women and children included and even non-blood relatives. At the end of the novel, she receives an end fitting her ways; she was killed by Ms. Pross, who is the epitome of love and kindness. It is evident from here that Dickens believed that good would always win over bad.
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