Themes in Tale of Two Cities

Last Updated: 29 Dec 2020
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Throughout Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities, a few different themes can be easily spotted. The biggest prevailing theme in the book would have to be 99% vs the 1% elite. This is when the poor oppressed people have had enough of the wealthy elite controlling them, and they ban together and rise up against it. In desperate times like revolution, you often find two or more unexpected partners or allies. It is almost as if the revolution and uprising cause some bond between the people revolting, giving them extreme focus and teamwork.

In normal circumstances, you might expect a woman like Madame’ Defarge to be a quiet mellow woman, but get her in a revolution and she turns into a fiery death machine. Themes like these can still be spotted today, and most of the same rules apply. One example is the most is the revolution and rebellion in Syria. This is virtually a near-exact modern example of something that Charles Dickens wrote in Tale of Two Cities 100 years ago. This proves the themes, and subplots found in his books are just as real today, as they were back then. Syrian people were being horribly mistreated, to the point of thousands dying.

You could draw a parallel between Syria’s leader Assad and the Marquis in St. Antoine. Both these leaders oppressed the people, and did nothing to stop widespread poverty and hunger, while still pretending everything in the country is perfect. This makes it clear that evil leaders and tyrants will always be the same; they are blind to the trouble they cause. Throughout the theme of social oppression, it also brings you to recognize the strong family links and ties within the book. It focuses strongly on the different links within the family, while the opposing family is trying hard to break that link.

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While we may not see families killing each other nowadays, some relevance to it can still be seen. One example is the strong link between Darnay and Lucie loving each other so dearly, while her dad is utterly shocked she is married to a man that helped throw him in prison. Things like this are still found today, and it isn’t uncommon to hear about fights between in-laws. People still tend to hold grudges from the past and cause it to affect their opinions and decisions in the future, much like the theme in Tale of Two Cities.

So all in all, it can be said there is definite evidence of themes Charles Dickens wrote about, in the modern world. The reason for this is that the mentality of people often doesn’t change much over time. A tyrant leader will always be a tyrant, and angry in-laws will always be angry in-laws. This is simply human nature, and it likely won’t fade anytime too soon. While we might not go physically cutting people’s heads off, Charles Dickens's theme of social injustice is very relevant today.

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Themes in Tale of Two Cities. (2016, Sep 05). Retrieved from

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