Essay On Loyalty In Tale Of Two Cities
Sacrifice In A Tale Of Two Cities
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The Gift of a Lifetime: Sacrifice in a Tale of Two Cities
Some men are engraved eternally in the hearts and minds of those he inspired. It is done so in a fashion that allows his name to live eternally, long after his ephemeral existence. However, what truly sets a man apart from his lesser counterparts is his willingness to give without taking. Indeed, the pioneer aviator and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh puts it best when she says, “to give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own” In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of two Cities , Dickens shows the inherent goodness of his characters . By exemplifying various acts of sacrifice, he demonstrates the character’s gifts ultimately bring about great change, often changes that facilitate the revival of their loved ones.
The very first signs of sacrifice are noted in the opening scenes of the book. Dickens writes of a “fated revolution” by metaphorically comparing the woodsman and the forester to the creation of the guillotine. Dickens notes that in the midst of a revolution, heavy bloodshed must be made in order to achieve the vengeance that the peasants desire. Though the peasants were originally people of good faith, they were forced by the aristocratic government to take drastic actions. Poverty, the mother of all crimes, along with the aristocrats “crushing of humanity out of shape once more” gave the peasants no choice.” Dickens conveys here that because of the negligence of the government, the people were forced to sacrifice their good nature and engage in the violent acts that caused a time of great animosity and dejection.
Sacrifices are often made to strengthen bonds, and no other bond in the novel is stronger than the one that Lucie Mannette shares with her father , Dr. Manette. Indeed, Lucy has gone to great lengths to ensure that their bond stays strong. In the opening chapters of the novel, Lucie, in hopes that her pleas can cure her father’s insanity, devotes herself to Dr. Manette wholeheartedly, disregarding any personal desires of her own. She promises her father that if, “ ..I hint to you of a home there is before us, I will be true to you with all my duty.” (46) Lucie’s undying devotion to her father is a clear example of how one person’s sacrifice can inspire life in another.
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As Dr. Manette slowly recovers his sanity, he too, makes bold sacrifices for his beloved daughter. On one occasion, Mr. Jarvis Lowry, trusted friend of Dr. Manette, asked for his permission to destroy the shoe-making tools. Though reluctant to part ways with the tools that serve as his security blanket, Dr. Manette declared that, “in [Lucie’s] name, then, let it be done; I sanction it.” (207). However, this was not his only gift to his daughter. It was in perhaps the most audacious acts of sacrifice that Dr. Manette allowed the nephew of his enemy, Charles Darnay to marry his beloved daughter. Though at times Darnay’s resemblance to the Marquis St.Evermonde still brings horrors to the countenance of Dr. Manette, Dr. Manette is able to view the world with a brighter outlook. As he explains to Lucie , “ my future is far brighter , seen through your marriage, than it could have been –nay, than it ever was without it.”(189) Through the sacrifices of both Dr. Manette and Lucie, it is evident that small acts of giving can, in turn, bring about happiness and revival in a form much greater than expected.
Dr. Manette is not the only one who looks out after Lucie. Miss Pross, diligent servant of the Manettes , has been looking after Lucie ever since Lucie was eight years old. Her willingness to protect and serve her “ladybird” ultimately ensures the group’s safe arrival in England. In Miss Pross’ epic battle against Madame Defarge, she willingly put her life at stake to defend those she loved. In the struggle between Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, which can be characterized as a battle between the forces of good and evil, Defarge was killed by an accidental gunshot. Though Miss Pross’ valiant effort was triumphant, she lost her hearing because of the gun. As they prepared to leave, Mr. Cruncher concluded that,” [Miss Pross] will never hear anything else in this world.” (376). Her unwavering loyalty to the Manettes resulted in the potential revival of the Darnays, as the successful escape granted them a chance at new life. Dickens uses this scene to again show how an act of loyalty or sacrifice, will never go unnoticed.
Though many in this story have shown acts of compassion through their sacrifices, no person has sacrificed more than Sydney Carton. But in order to truly measure the impact of his offering, we must examine eventful life. Mr. Carton was, at a young age, a promising and brilliant child. However, the death of his parents quickly shattered his life. Dickens describe him as a, “man of good abilities and good emotions” but was “incapable of his own help and happiness” (92). Though much of his brilliance had continued with him onto adulthood, he had become a drunkard who describes himself as person who, “cares for no man on earth and no man care for” (85) . However, after revealing his love for Lucie, he is determined to protect her and the ones she love. He declared to Lucie that he was a man who would,” give his life to keep a life you loved besides you.” (155). In the last few moments of his life, he again said the same words to Lucie. As he was about to leave Lucie’s residence he bent down and murmured something in her ear. It was said that ,” the child nearest to him told her grandchildren when she was a handsome old lady that [Carton] had said “a life you love” .” (341). At that point, Carton had decided that his sacrifice would not only revive the life of Darnay, but also his own. Dickens notes that though Carton” was a tired man who had wandered and struggled and got lost , [he] was determined to stick to the road and see it to its end” (318). Carton eventually disguises himself as Darnay and takes the burden of Darnay’s death sentence. As he awaits his execution, he begins to contemplate the impact in which his actions might bring about. He sees,” a beautiful city, and a brilliant people rising from this abyss.” (381). Throughout the novel, Dickens repeatedly compares Carton’s sacrifice to Christ , largely due to the fact that in Carton’s death he created life. Carton sees , “ that child who bore my name, winning his way up in that path of life that was once mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious by the light of his.” His sacrifice brought resurrection in both metaphorical and literal forms. He revived himself, through the future accomplishments of “the boy who bore his name” , and revived Darnay by taking his place. In short, Carton’s action accomplished nothing short of what he had perceived he would do. With his last breath he recalled to himself a that , “ it’s a far ,far better thing that I do than I have ever done. It’s a far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” (382).
Indeed it was, Mr. Carton, indeed it was.
Through the actions of Dickens’ characters, he demonstrates that even a small act of sacrifice can bring about immense change in another person’s life. Sydney Carton offers the gift of a lifetime, by sacrificing his life, and in turn, has guaranteed the survival of many. With his heroic actions, Sydney Catron elucidates that with every sacrifice made; the kind gesture is rewarded in some way. When a part of a soul is willingly given up for the purpose of sacrifice, it immediately fills the vacancy within another man. Indeed, it is these compassionate gestures that allow the world to function properly. It was theses simple but profound actions that allowed Carton to see the beauty and purpose of his life. It was these undaunted statements that brought an end to the horrors of the revolution. It was these gestures, the ones done without any reward or notice, which impel us to hold men like Carton, dear to our hearts.
NOTE: There are numerous gramatical mistakes and two or threee sentences in which i omitted words by accident. Please make changes accordingly.
Resurrection is the overriding theme of this novel, manifest both literally and figuratively. Book I, named "Recalled to Life," concerns the rediscovery of Doctor Manette, who has been jailed in the Bastille for eighteen years. Code for the secret mission to rescue him from Paris is the simple phrase "recalled to life," which starts Mr. Lorry thinking about the fact that the prisoner has been out of society long enough to have been considered dead. This theme is treated more humorously through Jerry Cruncher's profession as a "Resurrection-Man." Although his trade of digging up dead bodies and selling their parts seems gruesome, it provides him with the crucial knowledge that a spy named Roger Cly has been literally resurrected--in that he was never buried at all.
The most important "resurrections" in the novel are those of Charles Darnay. First, Sydney Carton's resemblance to him saves him from being convicted and executed in England, and then, the same resemblance allows the latter to switch places with him in the Conciergerie. These resurrections are surrounded with heavily religious language that compare Carton's sacrifice of his own life for others' sins to Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
This theme is inevitable in a novel concerning the French Revolution. Dickens chooses a side, ultimately showing opposition to the Revolution due to the ruthless and uncontrolled force of its aroused mobs. Even so, the story of the Marquis's rape of the peasant along with other details of aristocratic mistreatment of the lower classes provide some justification for the goals of the French mob. In the end, he portrays the mob as having moved beyond the pale to a degree beyond what happened in England; the French mob acts with such force that it resembles a natural element like fire or water.
This historical novel carefully marks the passage of time, and the introductory sentences of chapters often contain specific references to years or months. Keeping track of time is important because time carries out fate, which is an extremely important presence. From the first chapter, which describes trees waiting to be formed into guillotines in France, Dickens describes the revolution as something inevitable. Individual characters also feel the pull of fate. For example, Darnay feels himself drawn back to France as if under the influence of a magnet. Lucie's presentiment that the noise of feet echoing in her home portends some future intrusion correctly predicts what is bound to happen--Darnay's past does catch up with him, and he must pay for the wrongs of his ancestors. Fate operates ominously rather than optimistically among the characters in the novel, especially given Madame Defarge's representation as one of the mythical Fates connecting the future to darkness.
From the very title of A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens signals that this is a novel about duality. Everything from the settings (London, Paris) to the people come in pairs. The pairs are occasionally related together. A crucial incidence of related doubling involves the resemblance between Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, a similarity that drives the plot. The pairs are more often oppositional, just as in the dichotomous opening: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." For example, Lucie's physical and moral brightness is played off against the dark Madame Defarge.
One of the primary effects of the upheaval caused by the French Revolution was due to its literally revolutionary influence; it turned society upside down and banged it on its head. When Darnay returns to France, he observes that the noblemen are in prison, while criminals are their jailors. The replacement of Darnay with Carton at the end of the novel is another reversal, illustrating that a bad man can replace a good man in such a revolutionary society.
The novel focuses attention on the preservation of family groups. The first manifestation of this theme occurs in Lucie's trip to meet her father in Paris. Although she worries that he will seem like a ghost rather than her father, the possibility of a reunion is enough to make her undertake the long trip. After Lucie marries Charles Darnay, the novel tends to be concerned with their struggle to keep their family together. When Darnay laments his own death sentence, it is for the sake of his family, not for his own sake. The final triumph is the sacrifice of Carton, a man who is unattached to any sort of family, who thus preserves the group consisting of the Doctor, Lucie, her husband, and her children.
This theme is related to the theme of class struggle, because those who feel the negative effects of injustice begin to struggle against it. Dickens maintains a complex perspective on the French Revolution because although he did not particularly sympathize with the gruesome and often irrational results, he certainly sympathized with the unrest of the lower orders of society. Dickens vividly paints the aristocratic maltreatment of the lower classes, such as when Monseigneur only briefly stops to toss a coin toward the father of a child whom he has just run over. Because the situation in France was so dire, Dickens portrays the plight of the working class in England as rather difficult, though slightly less difficult than in other works such as Hard Times or Oliver Twist, which also emphasize social injustice.