Here are some examples of some of the most famous quotes from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (1859). These examples will help you gain a deeper understanding of this complex work, and you may be surprised by how many of these phrases are still familiar today despite the fact that this great classic was written over 150 years ago!
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. "Book I, Chapter 1, The Period. (Opening lines.)
"Keep where you are because, if I should make a mistake, it could never be set right in your lifetime."Book I, Chapter 2, The Mail.
"All through the cold and restless interval, until, dawn, they once more whispered in the ears of Mr. Jarvis Lorry — sitting opposite the buried man who had been dug out, and wondering what subtle powers were forever lost to him, and what were capable of restoration — the old inquiry: 'I hope you care to be recalled to life? 'And the old answer:'I can't say.'"Book I, Chapter 6, The Shoemaker.
"But indeed, at that time, putting to death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, and not least of all with Tellson's. Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislation's? Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to death; the holder of a horse at Tellson's door, who made off with it, was put to Death; the coiner of a bad schilling was put to Death; the sounders of three-fourths of the notes in the whole gamut of Crime, were put to Death. Not that it did the least good in the way of prevention — it might almost have been worth remarking that the fact was exactly the reverse — but, it cleared off (as to this world) the trouble of each particular case, and left nothing else connected with it to be looked after."Book II, Chapter 1, Five Years Later.
"I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me."Book II, Chapter 4, Congratulatory.
"Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away."Book II, Chapter 5, The Jackal.
"And who among the company at Monseigneur's reception in that seventeen hundred and eightieth year of our Lord, could possibly doubt, that a system rooted in a frizzled hangman, powdered and gold-laced, pumped, and white-silk stockinged, would see the very stars out!"Book II, Chapter 7, Monseigneur in Town.
"Repression is the only lasting philosophy."Book II, Chapter 9, The Gorgon's Head.
"Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!"Book III, Chapter 5, The Wood Sawyer.
"I, Alexandre Manette, unfortunate physician, native of Beauvais, and afterwards resident in Paris, write this melancholy paper in my doleful cell in the Bastille, during the last month of the year 1767. I write it at stolen intervals, under every difficulty. I design to secrete it in the wall of the chimney, where I have slowly and laboriously made a place of concealment for it. Some pitying hand may find it there, when I and my sorrows are dust."Book III, Chapter 10, The Substance of the Shadow.
"Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop,"returned madame; "but don't tell me."Book III, Chapter 12, Darkness.
"I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out."Book III, Chapter 15, The Footsteps Die Out For Ever.
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."Book III, Chapter 15, The Footsteps Die Out For Ever.