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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities


by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Society and Class Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general public business, which was, to let everything go on in its own way; of particular public business, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea that it must all go his way—tend to his own power and pocket. Of his pleasures, general and particular, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea, that the world was made for them. (2.7.4)

The laziness of the aristocrats only turns into action when their own direct self-interest is concerned. Dickens satirizes the choices of the "Monseigneurs" without ever allowing us to see them as real people—a sign that, before the violence of the revolution at least, he sympathizes with the revolutionaries.

Quote #5

The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur. (2.7.9)

Not only is Monseigneur unimaginable, but his followers are inhuman. They’re described as costumes—fancy, hollow shells of rich (and worthless) people.

Quote #6

I am like one who died young. All my life might have been. (2.13.17)

Why is Sydney Carton so sure that he can never deserve Lucie? Perhaps this quote offers an explanation: he’s convinced that his lower-class background makes him unfit for the life that he is capable of leading. He sees himself as one who died when his parents did. He’s never been able to believe in his own ability to transcend the circumstances of his youth.

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