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    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Essay

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    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens contained many themes that are practiced throughout the book. Two of these themes are altruism and resurrection. The characters Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton are used to exemplify these themes. Sydney Carton demonstrated an altruistic nature while Madame Defarge had a self-seeking disposition. Carton displayed his charitable nature when Lucie was the object of Mr. Stryvers affection. When Mr. Stryver asked for Sydneys approval, he said that he supported him in his pursuit even though Carton held a secret passion for Lucie.

    Before Darnays marriage to Lucie, Sydney told Lucie of his hopeless devotion to her and described himself to be undeserving. He also volunteered to embrace any sacrifice for her and those dear to her. Cartons altruism culminated when Darnay became incarcerated in La Force. When Mr. Lorry told Sydney of Darnays predicament, he traveled to France to offer his help. Carton fulfilled his offer to Lucie when he drugged Darnay and took his place in the impending death sentence.

    Madame Defarge, imbued from her childhood with a brooding sense of wrong, had no traditional morals in her and is the opposite of Carton. In Dickens vivid description of her, she is described as a tigress and absolutely without pity. Her hatred of the Evremondes had grown so profusely that she intended to execute Lucie and her daughter in addition to Darnay who had committed no crime but was to die for the sins of his forefathers. In addition, she ignored her husbands profound pleas to spare Dr. Manette and exclaimed to herself, No, I cannot spare him!

    Resurrection embodies both Sydney Carton and Therese Defarge. Sydney is resurrected from a desolate life of working under Stryver to sacrificing his life for the sake of Darnay. In the beginning of the story, Sydney is described as a lowly jackal in service to Stryver. He drinks excessively with Stryver and is careless in regard to clothing and speech. After Darnays trial, Carton is described as so careless as to be almost insolent. The trial is followed by a drink with Charles. After Carton has traveled to France, Carton has abstained from drinking and has liberated himself from Stryver.

    Before his death, he says, I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die, which exemplifies his own belief in his resurrection. At his death his face was described as sublime and prophetic. Madame Defarge is resurrected along with the millions of other peasants in the revolution. They restore the power of the people and Madame Defarge is prominent among them. She is now able to take her revenge on the Evremondes.

    She accomplishes this by her testimony that sends Darnay to jail and attempting to send Lucie and her daughter to jail. Sydney was at first thought to be a careless wretch but proved that he was a kind caring person. His last words sum up his character, 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. Madame Defarge had been imbued so replete with hatred for the aristocrat class and especially the Evremondes that it was not in her nature to have altruistic characteristics. Similarly, her resurrection was also a resurrection of hatred.

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