The Motif of Doubles in a Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens uses the motif of doubles throughout his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. In fact, Dickens? very first line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” (Dickens, 3) illustrates this motif. The entire first paragraph introduces the motif of doubles, which sets the precedent for the entire novel. The first paragraph is contrasting the good and the bad in all circumstances to come in the future of the novel.
Another example of the usage of doubles are the two kings, both with large jaws, and two queens, one “with a plain face” from England and another “with a fair face” (Dickens 3) from France. The large jaw of the Kings signifies that they talked a lot about change but they didn’t implement the change they wanted to bring about. The queens differ in that one is fair and beautiful while the other is plain and homely. This quote lays out the role of the two differing countries that will play an important role in the novel.
Book the First talks about how the two countries handle political situations differently. The third and strongest example of doubles that Dickens uses is about the duality of people. Early in the book, Mr. Lorry “ A wonderful fat to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other” (Dickens 12). Book the First tells the story of Mr. Lorry and that people can seem good in the light of the day but at night you do not know who they really are; they could be a robber.
In the situation of Mr. Lorry, he is afraid that the others in the coach aren’t really who they appear to be. This is a issue that most of their population deals with. There is constantly question someone’s real identity, if they are a good person, or tricking you to be a robber. The motif of doubles not only provides opposition, but parallel structure as well. Doubles play an important role in Dickens well-known classic A Tale of Two Cities.