"A Tale of Two Cities": The Victorian Era and the Abandonment of Spirituality

865 WordsAug 16, 20084 Pages
Joshua Wohlgemuth A Tale of Two Cities: The Victorian Era and the Abandonment of Spirituality Throughout the early to mid 19th Century, a new and cultural age took hold of Europe, specifically Great Britain with the commencing of the Victorian Era. Marked by impressive achievements such as the Industrial Revolution, La Belle Epoque, and the beginnings of an urban middle class, this era was also plagued with child labor, poor hygiene, prostitution, the constant class distinctions, and a bloody revolution. Many believe that the aforementioned events were caused by a distancing of the populous from the church, resulting in a lack of spirituality, while others maintain that this spiritual vacuum was a response to deteriorating conditions.…show more content…
Dickens is able to portray such irrationality through the character of Madame Defarge. Defarge is a cruel revolutionary whose hatred of the aristocracy fuels a tireless crusade of killing and accusations. Eventually Defarge’s anger and illogicality culminate when she heads a campaign to indict and execute Charles Darnay for the crimes of his cruel aristocratic uncle, Marquis Evremonde. Defarge is unable to empathize with the innocent Darnay just as the aristocracy was unable to empathize with the bourgeois, symbolizing that the spiritual void has come full circle. The evolution of this omnipresent spiritual vacuum culminates in the final third of A Tale of Two Cities where Dickens makes it quite apparent through universal societal apathy that there was an abandonment of spirituality as a result of failing living conditions. Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities illustrates the frustrations that critics had with a diminishing sense of spirituality during the Victorian Era. Despite significant achievements such as the Industrial Revolution, La Belle Epoque, and the beginnings of an urban middle class, Victorian authors like Dickens were troubled and appalled with the dwindling conditions like child labor, poor hygiene, prostitution, the constant class distinctions, etc… Dickens uses a myriad of characters to represent a society that had a vacuum of spirituality during a time of revolution. Furthermore, he

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