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A Comparative Study Of Sydney Carton In Dickens' Novel, A Tale Of Two

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A comparative study of Sydney Carton in Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, and Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, requires the reader to analyze various aspects that the transforming effect love can have on a personality. As we study each character, it is relatively easy to see that no matter how painful love can be, it is usually to one's betterment to have experienced it. Love affects each person differently. Some become more introspective, searching to better themselves for the sake of themselves or another. Others do not recognize what they are lacking in their lives until they find love. In either event, it permanently redirects the course of one's life. Or causes one to end it in some cases. We see that all three characters learn to love themselves better, to love others anew and in the end, make the ultimate sacrifice for their love for another.

Point A:

Both author's illustrate well, that a lack of love can have a profound effect on the behavior of a person. Whether a person has never experienced love by fortune or by design, the initial introduction of love into

the personality can be intense. Dickens introduces Sydney Carton to us immediately after a trial, speaking to his client. It is at this point that we get a glimpse of the character of Carton, "...who smelled of port wine, and did not appear to be quite sober..." (Dickens, 100). Carton is so disillusioned with his own life, that he can't even like his client [who looks like him],

"Do you particularly like the man?' He muttered, at his own image; 'why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is nothing in you to like..." (Dickens 103). Romeo Montague is no less desultory, but youth is his excuse, while alcohol and lifelong disappointment are Carton's. Shakespeare has Friar Lawrence state [about Romeo's multiple infatuations], "Young men's love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes" (1.3.67-68). Having not experienced life yet, Romeo does not yet understand the nature of love. He still sees it as a physical reaction, rather than emotional, "For beauty, starved with her severity / cuts beauty off from all prosperity" (1.1.227-228). Juliet is so immature and unskilled in the ways of love, that she shares her youthful desperation with her nurse, "Go ask his name; if he is married / my grave is like to be my wedding bed" (1.5.137-138). She has no concept of what love is, how it feels or how to react to it. She is almost virginal in her understanding of love.

Point B:

As each character experiences love for the first time, they react similarly to their newfound feelings. We are able to see how love can make our senses expand to others and the world around us. Sydney Carton recognizes that his love is unrequited, yet it's impact on him is no less profound, "...I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality..." (Dickens 187). Romeo is no less affected by love, if in a more juvenile way when he states, "If I profane with my unworthiest hand / this holy shrine / the gentle sin is this; / My lips, two blushing pilgrims / ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss" (1.5.104-107). Romeo's transformation comes as he realizes that beauty is not just a physical attribute, but a deep, multi-faceted emotion.

Juliet's feelings are awakened the night she meets Romeo at a masquerade ball. She has no experience with men and no basis for understanding, yet she is convinced that Romeo is her true love,

"My ears have not drunk a hundred words / of thy tongue's uttering / yet I know the sound. Art thou not Romeo...?" (2.2.63-65). Juliet begins to have feelings of self-worth above the basics of her station. She begins to recognize that her love has a value to another. Therefore, her own self-image is increased.

Point C:

The overall parallels between these three characters can be unquestionably seen. The most pronounced is that love is life-altering. Whether is awakens newfound self pride, broadens our emotional horizons, or deepens our introspection of self worth, it forever changes how we view ourselves and the world. Sydney Carton's transformation is the most complete. He is thoroughly changed from his introductory state of slovenly, cynical drunk, to a man willing to sacrifice his own life for the woman he loves and those that she loves, "...I would embrace any sacrifice for you



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