What Goes Around Comes Back Around

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The novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens begins in the year 1775, 14 years prior to the French revolution in the cities of Paris and London. The story follows the lives of three families: the Manettes, the Evermondes, and the Defarges, along with people close in relation to them, and tells of each person’s contribution to the rise of the revolution. Dickens writes of the social injustices in the two cities, describing how the poor scramble and fight for mere loaves of bread, while the rich overindulge in their wealth.

William Butler Yates, in his poem “The Second Coming” writes:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The poem metaphorically suggests the theme of the tendency toward violence and oppression in revolutionaries after being so wrongfully treated by the aristocracy. Dickens supports this theme by finding immense fault in the social structure of society, the judicial system during that time period, and the lunacy of the revolution.
Throughout the novel, Dickens approaches the revolution with ambivalence. He provides layers of perspective, for while he supports the revolutionary cause, he often gestures to the evil of the revolutionaries themselves. Dickens often conveys his deep sympathy towards the plight of the French peasantry and accentuates their need for liberation. The first fault that Dickens addresses in the social structure of society is the difference in classes between the aristocrats and peasantry. In the chapters including the Marquis Evrémonde or Monseigneur successfully portray how the nobilities abuse their power in society by shamelessly exploiting and oppres...

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...pilled blood.
When the emotional turmoil caused by the aristocracies’ cruel oppression rose amongst the poor, it caused them to undertake the same horrendous actions of the aristocracies that they once despised. The author cleverly conveys to the reader how although the initial motive for the French Revolution may have been justified, quickly became just as corrupt as the system they were fighting against. Dickens’s most concise and relevant view of revolution comes in the final chapter, in which he notes the slippery slope down from the oppressed to the oppressor: “Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.” Though Dickens sees the French Revolution as a great symbol of transformation and resurrection, he emphasizes that its violent means were ultimately antithetical to its end.
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