”A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens Essay Sample
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A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens portrays many views on how power corrupts the minds of the rich and the poor. Dickens displays his disgust toward both sides. As it shows throughout the novel, power does corrupt the minds of all types of people, but there are a few people who can take the responsibility of power and help spread it toward others to build a better society.
Back in the Eighteenth century, the wealthy were drunk with power. Before the French Revolution, power was in the hands of the wealthy. For example, monsieur in the town was a wealthy man living at the top of the hill where below was a village with “its poor one street”. Instead of helping society out with all the money he does not need, he prefers to own four people that feed him chocolate. These acts are what pollutes the minds of the wealthy. With power, the wealthy forget the difference between what they want and what they need. Furthermore the corruption of power also occurs with the Marquis Saint Evermonde, as he runs over a child. Since the child was of the lower class the Marquis believed he was sparing his life from living in such horrid conditions. The event of the Marquis carrying on after running over the child shows that he
During the French Revolution Dickens believes power switches from the upper class to the lower class. The shift in power corrupts the minds of the lower class, who were the people Dickens felt bad for throughout most of the novel. For example, when Jacques three, a peasant, says to kill Lucie and her daughter because, “We haven’t killed that many blondes yet.” Having the power of the guillotine, gives the lower class power, which allows them to kill whoever they want with no solid reason. Since they have power, they believe they can do whatever they want. Another example is Madame Defarge who is an evil hearted creature who is corrupted by the power the French Revolution. She believes Darnay’s family does not deserve immunity for what Darnay’s ancestors have done. She wants them all dead. Power has turned Madame Defarge into an even worse being than she already was due to the power she is given. Power can pollute even the poor.
In this novel there is very little people who had power but used it to benefit society as a whole besides themselves. Charles Darnay is a good example. He is the heir to the Evermonde thrown. He believed with his power he can change France into a better place. He believes with his power he can change France into a better place. Charles uses power in a good way which benefits others besides himself. Another person who uses power beneficially was Sydney Carton. Carton looked exactly like Darnay and used that to his advantage to save Darnay from the guillotine, and sacrifice himself. Carton used the power of his resemblance to save a family from depression. This shows that power can be used to help others besides oneself. Sydney Carton displayed just that.
Percy Shelley wrote, “Power, like a desolating pestilence, Pollutes whate’er it touches”. Percy Shelley is both right and wrong. Power does corrupt minds like a disease. But there are a few who have the antidote, and these prefer to use the antidote on others selflessly.