An Unfolding Character In the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens is able to shed light on the distressing situation in revolutionary France. Dickens makes the reader well aware ofthe hardships the lower, working class faced before the revolution began. The authoritative aristocrats have exploited the peasants to the point of rebellion. Dickens believes the working class has been oppressed and “… that the people did not just liberate themselves, but also took vengeance towards the aristocracy’ (“Social Criticism inLiterature’ 2).
Despite the bothersome situation, Dickens is able to show that sincerity and courage still exist during the revolution in the character of Sydney Carton. In the early stages of the novel, Mr. Carton is not depicted as the heroic, genuine character that he later turns out to be. Instead, he is portrayed as the “… idlest and most unpromising of men (Dickens 69).’ In addition to that, he is seen as a drunk who is hopelessly in love with Lucie Manette. During a meal with Lucie’s future husband, Charles Darnay, Sydney explains, “I am a disappointed drudge, sir.
I care for no man on earth and no man on earth cares for me’ (67).
Charles and Sydney would both later pursue Lucie, with Charles being the better candidate and winning out in the end. It is ironic, though, that Sydney, who nobody expects much from, will be the one who will save Lucie’s successful, loving husband twice in the course of the novel. The troublesome situation arose just after the revolution began. Charles Darnay is put on trial the first time for allegedly giving information about the British troops inthe American Revolution to the French. Two men, John Basard and Roger Clay, testify against Charles and the trial appears to be over.
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“He is saved from being prosecuted by Sydney Carton, who a witness confuses for Darnay, thus not making the case positive’ (“A Tale of Two Cities’ 2).
Now, the jury is unsure wether Charles is truly the spy or not, so the jury acquits Mr. Darnay. Mr. Carton has clearly saved Charles’ life and in the process disappointed many citizens who were eager to see an execution. Dickens foreshadows what will happen to Mr.
Carton at the end of the novel in alate night conversation between Lucie and a depressed Sydney. Sydney realizes that he i snot worthy of Lucie but wants to let her know how much she actually means to him. He makes her promise to take him seriously before he tells her, “For you, and for any dear toyou, I would do anything… I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear toyou’ (Dickens 123).
This conversation erases any doubt from the reader’s mind thatSydney’s love for Lucie is artificial.
In Book II of A Tale of Two Cities, Madam Defrag e speaks of what she believes will happen to Mr. Darnay. “Her (Lucie) husband’s destiny will take him where he is togo, and will lead him to the end that is to end him. That is all I know’ (149).
She goes on to knit his name into the register.
“Madame Defarge’s knitting is also a symbol of impending doom, as she records the names of all those who are to die when the revolution takes place’ (“Social Criticism in Literature’ 1).
What possessed MadamDefrage to say this is her extreme hate of Charles’ family, the Evrmonde’s, who killed her relative. Later in the novel, revolutionists murder Charles Darnay’s greedy uncle, Marquis Evremonde, after he trampled a child with his carriage. Revenge is sweet forthe emerging peasants, but not for Charles.
The news of his uncle’s death means that heis the new Marquis Evremonde. Dr. Manette is the only one aware of Charles’s ecretivepast at this time. Charles receives the dreaded news in a letter from a family friend, Gabelle, who has been imprisoned and needs Charles’ help.
... Both Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton have fallen in love with Lucie Manette on the occasion of her appearance at Darnay's trial. Carton, who ... trial in progress. The accused, Charles Darnay, is called a spy for France and several witnesses appear, including Mr. Lorry, Dr. Manette and Lucie ... Mr. Lorry is waiting with Lucie and Dr. Manette. Carton remains in the cell in Darnay's place. As the prisoners ...
Darnay leaves for Paris to help Gabelle, not knowing what’s about to happen to him next. As feared, Mr. Darnay is arrested in Paris and sent to La Force, a prison that holds many aristocrats before they are sent to the guillotine. Upon learning of Charles ” imprisonment, Mr. Lorry sends Dr. Manette, Charles’ father-in-law, to La Force to protect Charles’ life as rioters are preparing to raid the prison and kill the aristocrats.
Dr. Manette has managed to use his status as an ex-prisoner of the Bastille to keep Charles alive while he is at La Force. A year later, Charles’ trial is to take place. Dr. Manette makes sure that the trial goes in Charles’ favor and for the second time he is acquitted. Charles was not able to celebrate for long, for during the following day four soldiers come to their door and arrest him.
Foreshadowing is used once again to hint towards Charles’ future as Dr. Manette tells his daughter, “My love, the staircase is as still as Death’ (Dickens 237).
It is later revealed that Monsieur Defarge, Madame Defarge, and Doctor Manette are the accusers who put Charles in prison. Meanwhile, Mr.
Carton develops a plan to save Charles because it is almost a sure thing that he will not win his trial this time. At this point in the novel, Mr. Carton is seriously beginning to contemplate his purpose in life, and in a conversation with Mr. Lorry asks him, ‘ If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, tonight, ‘ I have secured to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude of respect, of no human creature… I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!’ your seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would they not’ (253).
This shows how much Mr.
Carton has grown since his alcoholic, idle days at the beginning of the novel. “The next day, at a trial that had absolutely no delay, Charles is convicted and sentenced to death’ (“A Tale of Two Cities’ 2).
It appears that Charles will be killed and leave behind his wife and young daughter. Mr. Carton is thinking otherwise as he arranges for a carriage for Mr.
The Term Paper on What Criticisms of 19th Century Life Is Dickens Making in the Novel Great Expectations
... last but not least the role of women. Charles Dickens was born on 7th February, 1812, and spent ... prison. This contradicts the fact that in real life, Dickens ‘believed’ the ‘model prisons’ to be too ... and piled up tremendous debts throughout his life. When Dickens was nine, his family moved to London ... moral improvement. This suggests that in real life, Dickens felt that it was more important to focus ...
Lorry, Lucie, her father, and her daughter to pick him up before they leave the country. Mr. Carton tells Mr. Lorry, “You have my certificate in your hand with the rest, you know, and will reserve my place. Wait for nothing but to have my place occupied, and then for England’ (Dickens 281).
The following day Charles is scheduled to die. Mr. Carton appears at Charles ” cell just before he is scheduled to meet the guillotine. Mr. Carton forced Charles to change clothes with him and write a brief note to Lucie regarding Mr.
Carton’s promise he made to her of his life before he drugs Charles. Basard and several other guards then carry Charles’ body down to the waiting carriage. An hour later, Mr. Carton, pretending to be Charles, is called out of his cell.
Mr. Carton is forced to stand in line with the rest of the condemned. It is there that he meets a poor seamstress who has also been falsely sentenced to death. She realizes that he is not the real Citizen Ever monde and asks him if he is dying for him. Mr. Carton replies, “And his wife and child’ (289).
He holds her hand as they wait inline for the guillotine. When it reaches his turn, Mr. Carton becomes the twenty-third person that day to die. “They said of him, about the city that night, that it was thepeacefullest man’s face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime andprophetic’ (306).
Dickens finishes his novel with what Mr.
Carton probably was thinking right before he sacrificed his life for Charles. “I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence… I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know each was not more honored and held sacred in the other’s soul, than I was in the souls of both’ (307).
The theme of courage and sacrifice comes to its conclusion when Mr. Carton loses his life for Charles. Mr Carton serves as a source of hope in a time of revolutionarychaios. “In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens examines the inner soul, and shares with us how people are driven to the valley of human emotion, where desperation and anger reign, and what could happen afterwards if we let these emotions build up inside’ (“Social Criticism in Literature’ 2).
... give. Body. The novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens offers a glimpse into the life and times during the industrial revolution in England ... accompanying it with more descriptive and damning reports and accounts.Charles Dickens is an author of Victorian period and his novel Hard ... was not left entirely alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts ...
Dickens does an exceptional job of developing character that is able to overcome the adversities of revolutionary time and display characteristics of fortitude and genuine ss.