Essay PreviewMore ↓
This paper is to explain the use of irony of a phrase from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. The story is set during the time of the French Revolution and the phrase was the slogan of the revolutionaries: “The Republic One and the Indivisible of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.” Each term of this phrase will be defined and once defined one will be able to see the extreme irony of it.
First, the definition of Republic is: “a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people.” During this time, France was not even a republic. They were simply working towards it. And in all reality, they did not even have a government at this time. Their country was in the middle of revolution and was in total chaos. The people had not elected any representatives, and there was no one who was actually in control. It was just whoever had the best troops and could kill more of the other. This does not match the definition of Republic.
The second important word is Liberty. Liberty is defined as: “A state of society so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state, or nation. The restraints of laws are essential to liberty.” During the French Revolution there were no laws. The people were basically rebelling against each other in a bloody free-for-all. Of course they would not follow laws. They were all fighting to change the laws, and the government that they did not agree with in the first place. If they did not agree with the laws why would they abide by them?
The next word is Equality, defined as: “An agreement of things in dimensions, quantity, or quality; likeness; similarity in regard to two things compared.” During the French Revolution There was equality, but not the kind the people wanted. They had equality in that they were all able to be killed equally, without distinction, whether they had done anything wrong or not. They had equality for death. Obviously that is not the kind of equality one would desire.
“A body of men associated for their common interest or pleasure.
How to Cite this Page
"Irony in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens." 123HelpMe.com. 05 Dec 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Irony of The Republic that Never Existed “The Republic One and Indivisible of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.” This statement is best known as the slogan of the French Revolution and is mentioned as a popular quote in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. The French revolution, (as told by Wikipedia) was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France from 1789 to 1799 that had a fundamental impact on French history and on modern history worldwide. This war, that lasted 10 years, is the main focus of A Tale of Two Cities.... [tags: A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens novel]
763 words (2.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]
361 words (1 pages)
- Irony in A Tale of Two Cities Someone once said "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This is a compelling message upon which many writers have built their literature. One effective work which employs this theme is A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. This novel is set in Paris and London during the late eighteenth century. During this period, France was engaged in a revolution in which the otherwise common man rose up against the country's aristocracy. In its outset, the novel reveals the motives behind the plebeians' actions.... [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]
1149 words (3.3 pages)
- In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote the timeless masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities. In this novel, Dickens draws people to his excellent novel with brilliant uses of irony he makes by using coincidences and connections between the characters whose lives are being thrown into turmoil during the dark and violent times of the French Revolution. Dickens reveals these links throughout the story, some the reader understands immediately, while others are slowly revealed as the reader becomes closer to the characters in the novel.... [tags: Charles Dickens, Masterpiece, Tale of Two Cities]
1038 words (3 pages)
- ... Carton despises Darnay because Lucie Manette, the golden girl he loves, pities Darnay during his trial. Later on, coincidentally, Darnay and Lucie get married, and Carton becomes very involved with their family. In the end, Carton switches places with Charles Darnay, the man he once hated, to save his life for Lucie’s happiness. Therefore, if Sydney Carton had not recognized the parallels between Charles Darnay and himself, the life of Charles Darnay would not have been spared, and Lucie Manette would have lived a disconsolate life.... [tags: victorian period, chance, fate]
1046 words (3 pages)
- The Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequality as Portrayed by Tale of Two Cities Frederick Douglass once said, “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” He meant that if people are oppressed, one day they will pass their breaking point and fight back. As a consequence neither side will be safe or secure as violence and terror would corrupt them both.... [tags: Dickens, Literary Analysis]
1868 words (5.3 pages)
- Power can allow one to make decisions for others than will benefit them, but too much power can cause one to become corrupt. In the novel, A Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens, views power as a way in which corruption arises. Throughout the novel, Dickens speaks about three characters who starts to abuse their power as time passes in the novel. Dickens portrays the characters of the Monseigneur, the Marquis of Evermonde, and the revolutionaries as characters who goes through a change as a result of power.... [tags: Aristocracy, Abuse, Peasants]
658 words (1.9 pages)
- The French Revolution, beginning in 1789, served as a force for exposing man’s inhumanity to man because of the unjust actions that arose in all aspects of human existence during this time period. Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities examines the extent to which man will travel to achieve what he believes is essential to life. A look into every aspect of this epoch in both France and England reveals the faults that enable man to overlook the value of another individual’s life. Throughout the novel, Dickens analyzes the concept of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man as a force motivated by inordinate greed, destructive power, and conspicuous injustice.... [tags: french revolution, greed, unjust actions]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- Dickens is often held to be among the greatest writers of the Victorian Age. Nonetheless, why are his works still relevant nearly two centuries later. One reason for this is clearly shown in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. In the novel, he uses imagery to sway the readers’ sympathies. He may kindle empathy for the revolutionary peasants one moment and inspire feeling for the imprisoned aristocrats the next, making the book a more multi-sided work. Dickens uses imagery throughout the novel to manipulate the reader’s compassion in the peasants’ favor, in the nobles defense, and even for the book’s main villainess, Madame Defarge.... [tags: victorian age, innocent aristocrats]
890 words (2.5 pages)
- Irony: a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion. Readers fail to realize the importance of irony because of its common usage in most literary works. When an author provides irony in a novel, there are specific reasons why they do. Unfortunately, as readers, the development of irony does not capture our attention immediately, nor does it often hold analytical worth.... [tags: Literary Analysis, Dickens, French Aristocracy]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- Character Analysis on Abigail Williams from The Crucibles
- Character Analysis of Reverend Hale in The Crucible
- The Causes of the American Revolution
- Shakespeare's Misrepresentation of Julius Caesar
- Character Analysis of Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible
- Free-Thinking Women in Mariama Ba´s So Long a Letter
Finally the definition of Death: “the end of life”. This is a very simple term that many people understand. The French revolutionaries were basically saying all of this or you will have to kill us to break us up. What better way to separate a group of people than to kill them all? If they’re all dead obviously they cannot re-group. Their ideas would have been hopeless if the Jacobins had simply resorted to killing everyone to get what they wanted.
In conclusion, there was much irony in the slogan used by the revolutionaries: “The Republic One and Indivisible of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.” Whoever came up with it must have either been uneducated, or was a very imaginative thinker. There was no Republic; they were easily divisible; they had no liberties; their equality was definitely not what they expected or wanted; the fraternity was that of blood-thirsty women; and finally if none of that was brought about, they would have accepted death which, of course, would have rendered the French Revolution an absolute, failure and there would have been many deaths for no cause. That is just simple stupidity.