Discuss the underlying themes of the novel “A Tale of the Two Cities.”

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Discuss the underlying themes of the novel “A Tale of the Two Cities.” is a notable literary work by Wole Soyinka. 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 Discuss the underlying themes of the novel “A Tale of the Two Cities.”.


Discuss the underlying themes of the novel “A Tale of the Two Cities.”

The theme stands for the central idea of any literary work. A group of themes such as the futility and meaninglessness of revolution, sacrifice, resurrection, and the struggle for justice designed the novel “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859) by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). 

Themes of the novel “A Tale of the Two Cities.”: Through unforgettable characters, themes and settings, the novel describes the stark contrast between London and Paris. It reminds us of the ongoing power of love and the impact of selflessness. As Charles Dickens (1812-1870) once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The themes of the novel have been discussed below.

Resurrection and Rebirth: In the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, the themes of resurrection and rebirth are presented through several characters. After tolerating eighteen years of physical and mental imprisonment, Dr. Manet is resurrected physically and mentally. Then, he finds a new start in life with the help and selfless love of his daughter, Lucie Manette. Sidney Carton, a truly noble character, is also resurrected and embodies the resurrection of humanity through his ultimate sacrifice for Lucy and humanity:

“I will make any sacrifice for you and your loved ones.”

The selfless act of giving his life to save Charles Darnay is a shining example of the theme of resurrection. Dickens skillfully conveys this powerful theme throughout the novel. The characters demonstrate the power of love and sacrifice through themes of resurrection and rebirth.

Class Struggle:  Class struggle or class distinction is the novel’s predominant theme. The author has beautifully represented the struggle between the aristocracy and the common people.  In “A Tale of Two Cities”, two cities refer to the two cities Paris and London. It describes the political and social upheaval of Paris and London. If we evaluate the motto of the French Revolution to ensure Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, it is proved that the entire Paris has observed the fire of domination and inequality.

Oppression and Brutality: In Monarchy, there is no room for the common oppression and brutality turned into the daily phenomenon of the aristocracy to the common people during the French Revolution. To ensure liberty, equality, and fraternity, the French Revolution occurred. But Dickens has shown the futility of revolution in his novel. So, it can be said that class distinction is the prominent theme of the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”. 

Fate: Fate is another important theme of the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”.  Fate is absolutely a divine object, but in the novel, Dickens used the theme to understand the certainty of human beings. The theme of fate is reflected in the novel through the characters of Charles Darnay and Dr. Manette.  For the supremacy of their divine fate, they are recalled to life.   

Family: Family plays a vital role in the life of every human being. In the novel, the author has mentioned the function of the family. Dr. Manette has recovered his life by getting family. So, the theme of the family has been saturated in the novel.

Reversals and Inversion: A proverb says, “Money makes money.” The same thing has been reflected in the theme of reversals and inversion. The aristocracy had sown the seed of oppression and brutality before 1789. Then, they had to accept the result of the seed of oppression during the French Revolution. So, we can say that evil returns evil.

In conclusion, we can say that Charles Dickens, in the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, beautifully illustrates the themes of sacrifice, the futility of revolution, and the duality of human nature. It reminds us that history can repeat itself if violence is not stopped. The novel teaches us to be compassionate and calm in difficult times and to think about good and evil forces.