A Tale of Two Cities : themes

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A Tale of Two Cities is a notable literary work by Charles Dickens. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of A Tale of Two Cities.


A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is a novel set during the tumultuous times of the French Revolution. It explores many important themes. Let’s explore the central themes in the novel.


Resurrection is one of the central themes of the novel. There are sundry Characters in the book who are resurrected physically and metaphorically throughout the story. For example, Sydney Carton initially leads a dissolute life. He finds redemption through his selfless sacrifice to Charles Darney. Similarly, Charles Darnay is figuratively resurrected from his family’s troubled past in France. Jerry Cruncher was resurrected after seeing the tragic scene of the French Revolution.

Social Injustice

Charles Dickens explores the stark contrast between London and Paris’s aristocracy and the working class. The novel highlights the extreme social injustice and inequality of the time.

Fate and Sacrifice

The characters in the novel struggle with the idea of fate and destiny. Sydney Carton feels trapped by his fate before sacrificing his life to save Charles Derney. This theme conveys that every person can make their destinies through actions.

Violence and Revenge

The French Revolution was marked by extreme violence and a thirst for revenge against the aristocracy. The novel portrays the brutality of the revolution.


The title, “A Tale of Two Cities,” suggests a duality between London and Paris. Besides, the theme of duality is woven throughout the novel through the characters Charles Dernay and Sydney Carton. Because they are similar shapes physically. It also describes the contrasting characters of Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay and the opposing forces of good and evil.

Love and Sacrifice

Love is a powerful theme in the novel. It refers to the relationships between Lucie Manette and her father, Lucie and Charles, and Sydney Carton’s unrequited love for Lucie. Besides, love is always related to themes of sacrifice and redemption.

Rebellion and Revolution

The theme of rebellion against oppression is prominent throughout the French Revolution. It explores the complex and destructive nature of revolutionary movements.

The Effects of the Past

Characters in the novel are haunted by their past. The theme reflects Charles Darnay’s family history in France and Dr. Manette’s unjust imprisonment. The past has a significant impact on their present lives.

Justice and Injustice

The novel is related to the theme of justice and injustice in the legal system and society. It portrays established injustice throughout society. Besides, it conveys the idea that true justice often requires sacrifice.


Selflessness and sacrifice are recurring themes of the novel. Sydney Carton’s Supreme act of self-sacrifice is the most prominent example of Self-sacrifice. Besides, other characters in the novel also make sacrifices for the well-being of their nearest and dearest ones.