A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities Morals and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph)
No fight could have been half so terrible as this dance. It was so emphatically a fallen sport—a something, once innocent, delivered over to all devilry—a healthy pastime changed into a means of angering the blood, bewildering the senses, and steeling the heart. Such grace as was visible in it, made it the uglier, showing how warped and perverted all things good by nature were become. (3.5.32)
Multiple descriptions of mob mentality emphasize the ways that just about anyone can get "warped" by the sweeping violence of the revolution.
In seasons of pestilence, some of us will have a secret attraction to the disease—a terrible passing inclination to die of it. And all of us have like wonders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them. (3.6.6)
And just in case you thought this was a self-contained history, Dickens makes sure you know that the French Revolution is also a cautionary tale. We all have the capacity to become as violent and irrational as the mob of revolutionaries.
Miss Pross recalled soon afterwards, and to the end of her life remembered, that […] there was a braced purpose in the arm and a kind of inspiration in the eyes, which not only contradicted his light manner, but changed and raised the man. (3.8.53)
Sydney’s choice to sacrifice himself is made all the more honorable because he doesn’t choose to share his plans with anyone. Instead of his own reflections, we get observations from Miss Pross.