“it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair … we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” asserts Charles Dickens in reference to the French Revolution (Dickens 1). This infamous rebellion began as a respectable, even gallant, cause: an uprising against the inhumane way the aristocracy treated the peasants. However, as long as man has the ability to hate, he is going to want revenge. This added emotion often fuels the will of the oppressed, causing them to be even more unmerciful and barbarous towards the ones who tormented and harassed them. Soon, they became even more frenzied and blood thirsty, transforming into animals obsessed with bloodshed. The novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens tells the story of these two classes along with that of two families and two cities, London and Paris, during the French Revolution. The novel is written in such a way that allows the reader to experience the trials and tribulations of the French Revolution, while still enjoying the characters and convoluted plot. Dickens seems to believe that imagery is the key to showing the contrast between two characters, cities or classes, and he often uses it to please the reader esthetically and successfully sway the reader’s sentimentality and sympathies throughout the novel. Furthermore, to develop the theme of man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man, imagery is used to set a specific tone towards the peasants over the course of several scenes within the novel, including the peasants crowding around a broken wine-casket, sharpening their bloody weapons on the grindstone, and joining each other in a disturbing dance.
By using detailed imagery…
…e of light becomes a flame of destruction, causing darkness. This is exactly what Dickens is describing about the French Revolution when he states, “it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair … we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” (1). Throughout history, man has always treated his peers inhumanely: making them inferior to him, treating them with disgust, standing by to watch them struggle, and slaughtering them. In his novel A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens brings to light a part of human nature that no one wants to discuss, a small fire in human nature burning for revenge and power. A small fire that humans, themselves, are ashamed of, yet cannot seem to find a way to quench.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Mineola: Dover, 1999. Print.