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Tale Of Two Cities

Essay by   •  September 5, 2010  •  752 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,022 Views

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In "A Tale of Two Cities" Charles Dickens created two of the most contrasting

characters ever put into a book. One is the bloodthirsty Madame Defarge, and the other is

the self-abnegating Sydney Carton. Madame Defarge is a peasant who seeks revenge on

all aristocrats who cross her path. Sydney Carton is a man who is willing to do anything

for the love of his life. While the actions of these two characters clearly show their

differences, what drives each character is quite similar.

From Madame Defarge's actions, it is clear that she is the evil antagonist in the

novel. She is as evil as she is because when she was younger the Evremonde brothers

killed her whole family. Now the purpose of her life is to get revenge on the Evremonde

family and every other aristocrat. Even when told by her husband that she has gone too

far, she does not stop. Instead her reaction to him was, "Tell the wind and fire where to

stop, not me". In this statement she shows how she will never forget what was done to her

family and how the Evermondes deserve what they will receive. The actions she performs

in her daily life demonstrate her evilness. These actions include her knitting of poeple who

will be killed and trying to murder young girls. In the novel it seems like she is the "bad

guy" who is starting up all the trouble. It is her need for revenge, in the book, that starts

the revolution.

While Dickens presents Sydney Carton as a worthless drunk, he is actually the

most noble figure of the novel. Although he is a man who has not received

any high social

position in his life, he proved anything but worthless. It also seems as though his life has

resulted in nothing. At one point he says, "I care for no man on earth, and no man on

earth cares for me". Then when he meets Lucy Manette his whole outlook upon life

changes. He develops an everlasting child-like love for her. Sydney is willing to do

anything for her and tells her so in a speech he made to her. In it he states, "Think now

and then that there is a man who would give up his life, to keep a life you love beside

you". Although she does not marry him, he continues to love her until the day he dies.

While contemplating if he should give up his life for her love, he demonstrates his

selflessness by saying, "Let the Doctor play the winning game; I will play the losing

one."

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