"Since before the ancient Greeks, mankind has striven to discern and define truth, a noble if somewhat arduous task"( Swisher 118). Even modern society, despite losing so many of the old, "prudish" morals of preceding generations, still holds truth as one of the greatest virtues and to find truth in life, one of the greatest accomplishments. Authors such as Charles Dickens reflect this great desire to seek and find truth, using many varying mediums to express their opinions or discoveries. From the opening lines of the book, Dickens uses the method of thematic opposition to illustrate pure truth and evil lies. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens consistently opposes characters, settings, and even his theme of revolution, presenting juxtaposed viewpoints and actions that demonstrate deeper truths about life.
Two characters Dickens sets in opposition are Madame Defarge and Lucie Manette. Although Lucie Manette grew up an orphan after her mother died and her father lay languishing anonymously in a prison cell of the Bastille, although she suffered irreparable harm, Lucie Manette always finds within herself the ability to forgive wrongs and love other people. She looks for the best in every human heart and inspires those around her to love and achieve great, nearly impossible goals. Lucie Manette always appears in the form of light, often receiving the appellation of "angel." She provides a soothing disposition to those in torment, patiently listening to sorrows and misdeeds while forgiving and encouraging the miscreant to better ways. Even though she cannot reform Sidney Carton, he realizes that she, more than anyone, would have that power; ho...
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Glancy, Ruth. A Tale of Two Cities: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1993.
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Lucas, John. The Melancholy Man: A Study of Dickens' Novels. London: N.P., N.D.
Newlin, George. Understanding A Tale of Two Cities: A Student Casebook to Issues,Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Price, Martin. ed., Dickens: A Collection of Critical Essays Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967
Sanders, Andrew. The Companion to A Tale of Two Cities. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.
Swisher, Clarice, ed. Readings on Charles Dickens. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1998.
Youngham, Edith Carol. Introduction to A Tale of Two Cities (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1950), p. xv.
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