“A Tale of Two Cities”: The Victorian Age and the Abandonment of Spirituality
Joshua Wohlgemuth A Tale of Two Cities: The victorian era and the Desertion of Spirituality Throughout the early to mid 19th Century, a new and cultural age took hold of Europe, particularly Fantastic Britain with the starting of the Victorian Period. Marked by outstanding achievements such as the Industrial Transformation, La Belle Epoque, and the beginnings of a city middle class, this age was likewise pestered with kid labor, bad health, prostitution, the constant class distinctions, and a bloody revolution.
Lots of believe that the previously mentioned events were caused by a distancing of the populated from the church, resulting in a lack of spirituality, while others maintain that this spiritual vacuum was a response to degrading conditions. Regardless, it is indisputable that a spiritual space took place during the Victorian Period, and Charles Dickens relatively supports this property throughout A Tale of 2 Cities, revealed within the relationships between the complex to the most insignificant characters. Dickens’ book instantly opens by introducing us to two countries that have forgotten the essence of spirituality.
The religious environment provided in France acts as an illustration that piety was not going to be the main theme in the story: France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sis … amused herself with such humane accomplishments as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue removed with pincers, and his body burned alive, due to the fact that he had actually not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to an unclean procession monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty backyards (Dickens 4).
It is apparent that Dickens is disturbed that such disobediences in the name of spirituality were occurring and in addition, that the aforesaid habits was adding to a cultural desertion of spirituality. This phenomenon was extensive and “in [locations like] England, there was scarcely an amount of order … [where] bold robberies by armed men, and highway robberies, occurred in the capital itself every night” (Dickens 4). The cultural environment provided by Dickens acts as arena for a rift to take place between the bourgeois and the upper class that is sustained by the perpetual overlook for spirituality.
As an outcome of this spiritual space the upper class becomes continuously more apathetic towards the failing living conditions of the lower classes. Concordantly, the bourgeois starts to desert hope in addition to faith, and so the vicious cycle continues. This stylish indifference appears when a beggar woman pleas with Marquis Monseigneur “that a morsel of stone or wood, with [her] other half’s name, might be put over him to reveal where he lies” (Dickens 118). Instead of having compassion with the widow, Monseigneur simply casts her aside and disregards her only to pull away to the convenience of his own home.
It is quite apparent that Monseigneur’s actions symbolize Dickens’ disappointments with the aristocracy, which stopped working to feel sorry for neither the freshly growing bourgeois class nor the ever-present lower classes. Without any obvious love of fellow guy, this scene is a metaphor for the absence of pity and disregard that society was revealing throughout this time, as men seemed to distance themselves from the church. It is this extremely lack of compassion for a fellow human being that attributes to the hellish scenarios with which the people faced.
Eventually, without religion to turn to, the bourgeois and the proletariat began a violent revolution, signifying a total abandonment of spirituality. Eventually the schism in between the rich and the bad cause a violent revolution and a desertion of spirituality that appears as illogical cruelty. Dickens is able to portray such impracticality through the character of Madame Defarge. Defarge is a harsh advanced whose hatred of the upper class fuels a tireless crusade of killing and allegations.
Eventually Defarge’s anger and illogicality culminate when she heads a project to prosecute and carry out Charles Darnay for the criminal offenses of his terrible noble uncle, Marquis Evremonde. Defarge is unable to empathize with the innocent Darnay simply as the aristocracy was not able to empathize with the bourgeois, signifying that the spiritual void has actually come cycle. The evolution of this universal spiritual vacuum culminates in the final third of A Tale of Two Cities where Dickens makes it rather evident through universal social apathy that there was a desertion of spirituality as an outcome of stopping working living conditions.
Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities highlights the frustrations that critics had with a lessening sense of spirituality throughout the Victorian Age. Regardless of considerable achievements such as the Industrial Transformation, La Belle Epoque, and the starts of a city middle class, Victorian authors like Dickens were troubled and appalled with the dwindling conditions like kid labor, bad hygiene, prostitution, the continuous class distinctions, etc. Dickens utilizes a myriad of characters to represent a society that had a acuum of spirituality throughout a time of transformation. Furthermore, he has the ability to demonstrate how this lack of spirituality manifested itself through apathetic aristocrats and irritated revolutionaries which ultimately led to unreasonable cruelty. In presenting this environment Dickens had the ability to represent a historic duration that genuinely was “the best of times, [and] the worst of times” (Dickens 3).