In A Tale of Two Cities (Book 2, Chapter 1), what observation does Dickens make on "Death is Nature's remedy for all things"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Charles Dickens describes the old Tellson's Bank, he likens it in many ways to the prison of London, Newgate. For, the young men who enter Tellson's door "of idiotic obstinacy" (like England's judicial system) leave Tellson's old men. Dickens also mentions the proximity of Temple Bar, the famous gateway for the city.  As Dickens critiques the moral poverty of lat 18th century London, Dickens writes that

putting to Death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, and not least of all with Tellson's. Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislations?  Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the holder of a horse at Tellson's door, who made off with it, was put to Death; the coiner of a bad shilling was put to Death; the sounder of three-fourths of the notes in the whole gamut of Crime, were put to Death. 

Dickens criticizes this one solution for all wrongdoing, saying that it is not effective other than

clearing off (as to this world) the trouble of each particular case, and left nothing else to be looked after.

Like Newgate Prison, Tellson's Bank is responsible for eliminating many people, upholding the harsh criminal law of the time by which three-fourths of all offenses are punishable by death.  This description of Tellson's Bank furthers the theme of Dickens that society is a prison.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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