How does Dickens use paradox in the first chapter of a tale of two cities?

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Dickens uses paradox to establish one of the main themes of the novel.  The theme is that during every age, people experience the same struggles, difficulties, and joys.  Dickens uses this theme to create universal appeal for the audience.  He talks about every age having "wisdom" and "foolishness", "light" and "darkness", "hope" and "despair".

The paradox also sets up the plot of the story which bounces back and forth between England and France.  To do this, he discusses the kings and queens of both, the nobility, and the struggles of the common people - again highlighting the universality of it all. 

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