The Role of Mythology in A Tale of Two Cities

“A Tale of 2 Cities” by Charles Dickens is among the most disputed and slammed novels of his career. This novel was produced in Dickens’ transition phase and is considered to be insignificant, badly composed, and structured. Dickens would go on to compose “Great Expectations” and “Our Mutual Pals”.

These novels were highlights in the bulk of his work and continue, today, to inspire authors and readers. A close reading of “A Tale of Two Cities” exposes a variety of complexities and styles which are neglected during the initial reading.

Among the most intriguing of these concepts is the present of myth and more specifically the extremes of humanity. Dickens, in “A Tale of Two Cities” uses mythology, duplicity of the motherly matriarch, and meaning to demonstration the universal human experience of great versus evil. Setting is of incredible significance in “A Tale of Two Cities” and takes place in the cities of London and Paris. It is London which is represented as the center of new idea and liberty. London contrasts strikingly with Paris which is overrun by the harsh aristocracy.

It is within Dickens’ articulate and vivid descriptions of both cities that the real them of this novel is revealed. This can been seen in the opening dialog of the book which reveals pictures of “Light”/”Darkness,” “Heaven”/ Hell, “good”/”evil” (1 ). Each city represents an extreme, excellent or wicked, that has actually existed in the world because the beginning of time. This duplicity is continued in the two female characters through which much of the action within the novel is motivated. Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge are female characters that represent among the two motherly matriarchs.

Lucie Manette is altruism personified and her double, Madame Defarge is malevolent. It is the struggle in between these two females which brings about the great and bad that happen in the story. Simply as this universal dispute has brought modification throughout history. Dickens utilizes 2 specific mythologic imagery to support this motif– weaving and knitting. In the title of the 2nd book, The Golden Thread, is when Lucie becomes connected with weaving. Lucie is said to have golden hair and is the “thread” which holds her household together.

She is devoted to the greater good of her household and society. She supports all the people in her life and through this extensive commitment she produces among the greatest transformation in literature. Carton begins this novel as an indolence and indifferent man with no direction and no values. However, through the love of Lucie he discovers his function in life and passes away a hero who will permanently be embedded in the hearts and minds of those he died for. She nurses her dad back to health both mentally and spiritually.

She is eventually responsible for developing a brand-new nation, developing France into a strong country with is based not on injustice but the open sharing of concepts and the inclusion of all people. Weaving has always been associated with women, throughout history. It is indicated that women weave the web of life. The Fates, the sisters who were said to determine fate in mythology were weavers and Dickens’ does an excellent job of making the parallel to good moms like Isis and Demeter, The 2nd extreme of female matriarchs is that of Madame Defrage. She does not weave however she does knit.

She wishes not to nurture however to damage. Madame Defrage knits a list of individuals she thinks need to die when the new powers are developed in France. She is so committed to the cause that she wishes to win at any expense. She is associated with The Furies from folklore who were females who used tortures to condemned souls. They were connected with revenge and The Furies are personified in Madame Defrage. Through the characters of Lucie and Madame Defrage Dickens’ links universal battle of great and wicked, and mythological matriarchs through images.

Lucie and her weaving is associated with light, life, and warmth. While Madame Defrage and her knitting are related to darkness, death, and vengeance. Through the integration of these images Dickens’ makes “A Tale of Two Cities” not simply a novel for entertainment however a real literary work which handles among the most universal styles understood to mankind. I agree with this criticism. One of the very first things I observed was the mythological tips within the text. Madame Defrage is absolutely wicked and this is represented in her knitting.

Knitting involves “cutting”, “pointing”, and “tearing”. “The fingers of the knitting ladies were vicious, with the experience that they might tear” (220 ). Madame Defrage even yells at her partner since he feels kindness towards to Lucie. Lucie is once again and once again seen as excellent. “Ever busily winding the golden thread that bound them together, weaving the service of her pleased impact through the tissue of all their lives, and making it predominate nowhere, Lucie heard in the echoes of years none however friendly and relaxing noises” (209 ). During Darnay’s trial Lucie is seen as a golden angel.

I think that critics were incredibly difficult on Dickens for this novel. It was a book that was overlooked for many years as being badly composed, inadequately structured, and a literature for the masses. However, as you can see, after you truly put in the time to check out and understanding the text there are numerous intricate themes and themes that Dickens takes on in a very subtle method. Perhaps Dickens desired a novel that was both enjoyable and likewise profound. He was comfortable enough with his composing abilities to comprehend that for his messages to get across to the reader that he must first interest the reader.

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