Essay on Charles Dickens

Submitted By leandra1
Words: 547
Pages: 3

In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, the feeling of oppression and building resentment of the French people is practically tangible. The very premise of the book speaks to this idea – that the French government was so horrible that they could lock an innocent man in a prison for eighteen years, not out of any malice, but out of a pure and blatant disregard for the humanity of the common people. Dickens advocates, perhaps not the French Revolution in particular, but at least some action to throw of this oppressive, heartless, government, through conveying the contrast between the lives of the common people and the nobles. The beginning of the book, which presents a series of paradoxes, introduces this contrast. Both England and France are described as giving horrible punishments to the most petty of criminals (and yet as ineffective in dissuading crime in general), yet Monsieur the Marquis’s carriage runs over a child and he makes next to no recompense. Surely this is a much greater crime than that of some pickpocket. He expresses no remorse, and even seems to feel that it is the father’s fault, for not keeping his child out of harm’s way. This lack of even a trace of respect for the father’s grief, and indeed the lives of the common people in general, makes the reader sympathetic to the revolutionaries, and helps make clear the motivation for such brutal punishments as the guillotine. Before this incident, Monsieur the Marquis has just come from an audience with Monseigneur. It is important to note the lack of specific names for these people. This aids in Dickens’s portrayal of the French nobility as cold and even inhuman. Monseigneur has just eaten some chocolate, and Dickens described how he required no less than four attendants to aid in this ceremony. Also, there was an audience of a great variety of frivolous people, who may well have been charlatans or spies. The important thing, at least in the minds of the French court, was that they were all dressed very well, in the height of fashion. From this painfully…