Charles Dickens characterizes the settings in his novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” through indirect comparison and contrast between Paris and London during the French Revolution, a political and social upheaval from 1789–1799;
“There was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face on the throne of England; there was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever. (1.1.2)”
His distinguished way of approaching these two cities bolsters the image of the characters he wants to convey through his novel. When doing so, Dickens creates the environments of a British home, British Government, British business, and French home, French Government, and French business.
Charles Dickens establishes broad similarities and differences between the two major settings, France and London, in his novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” When looking into these two major settings, one can see the distinct type of surroundings forming. In “A Tale of Two Cities”, London seems to be the place of security but cannot “justify much national boasting” either. Although things aren’t going perfectly over there, when compared to how things are over Paris, London seems like a safe heaven. Moreover, Dickens makes it clear that both sides would like to see some hanging with the crime and capital punishment around.
In chapter two of Book the Second, Charles Darnay is stool on trial for trespassing in the Old Bailey Courthouse, which represents the British Government. He is not welcomed warmly, some of the witnesses of the trial even states that “[Darnay] will be drawn on a hurdle to be half hanged, and then he’ll be taken down and sliced before his own face, and then his inside will be taken out and burnt while he looks on, and then his head will be chopped off, and he’ll be cut into quarters…” if he is found guilty, which the crowd of drunken ruffians highly believe it to be so. Although “justice” and “law” are used in this room, stickle of the laws are carried out. Fortunately, Darnay does get acquitted; however, it was not because justice was served. Dickens’s demonstration of this scene portrays that there isn’t much of a difference between the Londoners and the Parisians, which sets a frightening image for France, considering the situation that is about to unfold. The courtroom is one of the three major settings Dickens demonstrates for London. The second setting in London is Manette’s house in Soho and the third setting is the Tellson’s...