illustration of a guillotine

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 211

1. The idea of resurrection or rebirth pervades this novel. How does Dickens use this theme? What does Dickens seem to be saying with it?

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2. Dickens seems to show that the French Revolution was inevitable, given the cruelty and greed of the upper classes at that time. But how does Dickens feel about the actions of the revolutionaries once they took power? What did the revolution accomplish? Does Dickens approve of the guillotine? How do you know?

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3. Why does Sydney Carton change places with Darnay? What makes him sacrifice his life in this way? Does Carton's character change here, or has he always had within him the potential for such noble action? Do you find his act believable?

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Latest answer posted August 30, 2007, 1:27 pm (UTC)

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4. Carton and Darnay look remarkably alike. They also have many other things in common, yet in some ways they are complete opposites. Can they be seen as different sides of the same human personality? In what ways are they doubles?

5. Do the themes of resurrection and self-sacrifice, and the setting of the French Revolution have anything to do with one another? Why would Dickens set his story in this particular time and place?

6. How does Dickens use parallel "situations and characters in the novel? What examples can you find, and what do they contribute?

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