A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the duality between England and France in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens?

Expert Answers info

Mikayla Bruen, M.B.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Writer, Professional Researcher

bookB.A. from Swarthmore College

bookM.B.A. from New York University


calendarEducator since 2019

write329 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Dickens outlines the duality and contrasts between England and France at the time. More specifically, he outlines the duality between Paris and London. The title, in fact, hints that Dickens will present the story of two cities. He establishes the parallelism and duality between the two cities at the very beginning of the novel:

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness...

If it was the best of times, how could it simultaneously be the worst of times? We know that Dickens is writing about these two cities at the time of the French Revolution. It was the best of times in London perhaps, but it was the worst of times in Paris, where chaos reigned. Dickens writes, “Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh.”

Describing the respective monarchies, Dickens sets up the two cities as near mirror images of one another:

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,033 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

write2meric eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write8 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,738 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Michael Foster eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write579 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial