A Tale of two cities is a fictional book written by Charles Dickens which is set in Paris and London. It is the most printed original English Book. The historical source of the novel is The French Revolution: A History written by Thomas Carlyle who asserts that history runs a cycle of death and resurrection.
The theme is best captured in the opening line of the book ‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times’. The theme of the book is chosen to describe the social parallels that operated in Paris and London during the years preceding and following the French Revolution. The Revolution is steadily preceded by the oppression of French peasants by Aristocrats who later become victims of the revolutionaries. Because of the perpetual subordination of the peasants, freedom becomes necessary and a revolution ensues.
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This is a bloody event marred by the killings and brutality visited on the feudal lords and their estates by the die-hard fighters that initiated and perpetuated by the revolution. While this is going in Paris, France, London is apparently affected by similar social injustice.
It begins where Mr. Jarvis Lorry meets Lucie Manette in Paris whose father, a doctor, has become mentally deranged because of his long years of imprisonment In Bastille. While returning to England, they meet Charles Darnay, a French Emigrant who was eventually exonerated from the charges leveled against him. Darnay marries Lucie who is also loved by Sydney Carton, one of Darnay’s attorneys.
The Defarges, which represent the clamors of the peasants, plans to eliminate Darnay when he returns to France with his family because of his love for his country; he is sentenced for his connection with the French Aristocrats. In fulfillment of his vow to Lucie, Sydney sacrifices his life to give Darnay the freedom Dr. Mannette fights to get for his son-in-law.
The novel’s plot covers themes life death, mental illness, darkness and light with special emphasis on social injustice. While the author draws a parallel between England and France, he also shows that the social dissatisfaction that culminated in revolution in France and America is also within the fabric of English life; and people pay to keep its ebb permanently low.
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