A Tale of Two Cities

Violence in A Tale of Two Cities

The storming of the Bastille, the death carts with their doomed human cargo, the swift drop of the guillotine blade - this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. Dickens not only captures the brutality and corruption of this period, but gives insight into what propelled the death and destruction. Through the hostility between the French aristocrats and the peasants, Dickens highlights the principal that violence perpetuates even more violence, until the sinister chain eventually exhausts itself.

The oppression of the French people by the ruling class in the eighteenth century is an infamous time in history. During this time, the aristocrats had no respect for the less fortunate of their nation. Dickens illustrates the aristocratic attitude toward the peasants with Dr. Charles Mannett's account of how one aristocrat treated his servant who failed to answer the door in a pleasing amount of time.

It [the door] was not opened immediately, in answer to the ringing of the bell and one of my two conductors...

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