Why did Dickens Consider 1775 as “the best of times and the worst of times”

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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.


Why did Dickens Consider 1775 the best of times and the worst of times?

The French Revolution (1789) is a remarkable and notable phenomenon in the history of France. A Tale of Two Cities (1859)”, composed by the Victorian novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870). It is an important document where he expressed his attitude towards the French Revolution. He has vehemently upheld his ideas about the French Revolution in the following way.

The symbolic meaning of the phrase: By “The best of times”, Dickens means to say that the time of stability, peace, and prosperity of London and a place of order, civility, and comfort of Paris. Besides, “best of times” refers to Charles Darnay’s peaceful life in London. On the other hand, “The worst of times” means the French Revolution in Paris, a period of extreme social and political upheaval. It refers to great suffering, brutality, and chaos. The phrase “The worst of times” refers to particularly alarming times of the Evrémonde family among the many characters.

Reasons for considering 1775 “the best of times and the worst of times”:  Dickens has used the French Revolution as the background of his novel. In A Tale of Two Cities“, he visualized three sections of the novel: before the revolution, the exact time of the French Revolution in 1789, and the post-revolutionary period. Dickens has represented a selfless love story by which he has upheld a historical background to provide a lesson that Revolution means destruction or destruction of any country’s social and political circumference. Because of the French Revolution, not only the upper-class people but also the lower-class people were destroyed. This novel has been designed with a complex plot so that the reader has to discover the cause of the French Revolution. Dickens says

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times;

It was the age of wisdom and it was the age of foolishness;

Dickens used the French Revolution as the background of his novel to throw a hidden message not to be revolutionary.

In short,  Dickens’s attitude of “The year 1775 as the best of times and the worst of times” is true. By using this phrase, Dickens stresses the sharp contrast between the two cities and the different fortunes of his characters. It also reflects the theme of duality, social inequality, and the turbulent nature of history.