A Tale of Two Cities Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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Which moral themes are present in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities?

One moral theme present in Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities is the possibility of redemption. Another important theme is the necessity of compassion. Both of these have strong textual evidence to back them up.

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The two main moral themes in A Tale of Two Cities are the possibility of redemption and the importance of compassion.

The redemption theme is most obvious in the arc of Sydney Carton, whose love for Lucie Manette is entirely selfless. He knows she prefers Charles Darnay to him and accepts this, neither guilting her into loving him or viewing Darnay as an enemy. When Darnay is condemned to death by the revolutionary court, Carton could have had Lucie to himself, but instead, he chooses to die in the place of his rival because he knows Lucie will be happier with Darnay than with him. His selflessness and love redeem him from a life wasted on alcoholic binges.

Compassion is the other great moral theme of the book. Dickens portrays the French Revolution as the end result of centuries of the aristocracy treating the lower classes as playthings at best and of no value at worst. The injustices suffered by the peasant classes—including manslaughter, rape, and theft—accumulate until the...

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