Imprisonment Theme Analysis in “A Tale Of Two Cities”

The theme of imprisonment and confinement is very notable and persistent in the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”. Prisons prominently figure in almost all his literary works. Almost all the characters in the book are in a constant battle with a different form of imprisonment in their individual levels of life. They, therefore, carry along a burden of the impacts and effects of the implications of imprisonment as they continue to build on the plot of the story. This paper intends to analyze and discuss the theme of imprisonment in deep.

In the novel the author brings and builds the idea of imprisonments in numerous cases and case scenarios; for instance, the nobility’s’ power abuse is symbolized by the Bastille. The theme of imprisonment is exemplified in the case where Marquis St. Evre’monde unjustly puts Dr. Manette in jail. It is imperative to note and consider that the Bastille is not the only jail in the novel Tale of Two Cities. Unjustly the revolutionaries go ahead and put Charles in La force prison to suffer in extremely hostile conditions of the prison. Through this occurrence, Dickens puts a suggestion forward that the revolutionaries of France come to misuse their power with almost the same intensity as was used by the nobility (Dickens, 22).

Nearly all the characters in the novel A Tale of two cities are within a certain restrain or form of imprisonment. As for Manette and Darnay, this strain is quite literal. Both of these characters in the course of the story serve considerable sentences and jail terms in the French prisons. Also as demonstrated in the novel, the flashes of memories of the experiences of the individuals in the prison proved to be more confining even more than the walls of the jails. Manette, for instance, gets himself trapped on numerous occasions by the recall of his experiences at the Bastille and has very little options or none on what he can do to revert while shaking because of the pathetic compulsion of the shoemaking.

Much of Carton’s life is spent in the novel struggling hard against the compact confines of his own personal life. He is very dissatisfied discontented with his life, which he sees and regards as worthless. At this point, the author brings the theme of imprisonment in the form of personal imprisonment. In personal imprisonment, an individual is compelled to the occurrence of negative circumstances in life to see and develop a feeling of lack of self-worth and generally, lack the importance of life at large.
Upon further development of the theme of imprisonment by the author in the novel, the author brings to light the implications of health suffered by the inmates as shown in the case of Doctor Manette’s illness and the disgraceful state he is reduced to. The author brings back the issue of individual mental imprisonment through Manette when he goes back to his tiresome former task of shoemaking upon learning that Lucie had married an Eve’rmondes.

The theme of imprisonment is deeply rooted in the course of the novel A tale of two cities. In the scenarios mentioned above, the issue has been linked to very negative effects on society. The author is very concerned and writes the volume in a bid to do away with such antisocial acts that damage and interfere with social cohesion as noted it the livelihoods of persons undergoing various forms of imprisonments.


Works cited
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar, 2007. Print.

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