Tale Of Two Cities. A Comparison Of The Pairs Or Doubles That Appear Constantly Within The Novel.

1236 words - 5 pages

Gilman PAGE 1
Claire GilmanDecember 15, 2009English 12 CPAn Abundance of Foils"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times […] we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going directly the other way" (Dickens 7). Charles Dickens "[influenced] the development of the serial novel" and created many classics (Pool 389). Only Shakespeare used the same writing techniques as Dickens (Engel). The novel "A Tale of Two Cities" is a grand example of character foils and doubling within one of Dickens' novels. The use of England, France, and the characters makes the novel better because they add to the intensity of the plot "between the two eternally paradoxical poles of life and death" (Charles Dickens 421).As part of the doubles Dickens uses the countries England and France as opposites.There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were 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 forever (Dickens 7).England is tranquil and prosperous while France is in turmoil. The major difference between the two is that the people are not happy with France's government. For the people of France, England has become a safe haven, somewhere that the people could be safe and out of harms way. While England is peaceful France has become a warzone with a government that is steadily eroding. Both countries could be viewed as an allusion to heaven and hell.Characters throughout the novel are seen as foils. Darnay and Carton are the most obvious doubles in the novel. Carton has no self-confidence where Darnay has plenty to spare, thus making them opposites. "A terrifyingly demonic villainess and an impossibly angelic heroine", Mrs. Defarge and Lucie are also opposites (Schama vii). With her constant knitting of names of people to kill Mrs. Defarge is perceived as a wicked person who seeks "vengeance and retribution" without mercy (Dickens 181). Lucie on the other hand, is kind and caring often perceived as the angel to Mrs. Defarge's devil. The monsignors' of town and country have the same title but this in no way makes them similar. In fact, they are complete opposites. Town Monsignor is laidback compared to the Country Monsignor who is easily excitable. An unlikely pair of opposites is Cruncher and Lorry. Lorry has a very direct moral compass and does what he can to help others. Cruncher on the other hand, only does what has some sort of positive effect on him and has no sense of morals. All of theses sames and opposites add to the novels hidden parallels. For example Carton at first seemed to be Darnay's lesser but manages to transform himself into a hero whose goodness equals or even surpasses that of the honorable Darnay by the end of the novel.Perhaps one of the most important foils is the relationship between the Town Monsignor...

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