Essay, Research Paper
Archetypal Characters: Characters are presented from the start of the novel as good or evil. There are no characters that the reader see as good and turn out to be evil at the end or vica versa. Their goodness or evilness is clearly shown from the beginning.
A Tale of Two Cities takes place in England and France, during the time of the French Revolution. A Tale of Two Cities is a classic novel, where Charles Dickens presents to the reader archetypal main characters. From the beginning of the novel, the reader can know whether the characters are evil or not. In the novel, the main character, Sydney Carton, also contributes a lot to the theme of the novel-every individual should have both moral and physical courage, and should be able to sacrifice everything in the name of love.
Sydney Carton has been presented as the worthless human being. He was always drunk. He did not acquire any high social position. He was always alone and lonely. Nobody loved him and nobody respected him. "I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me" said Carton (page 99). However, Sydney Carton did never cause any harm to anybody, but actually helped the people around him. Sydney Carton was physically identical to Charles Darnay. When Darnay was being prosecuted for treason against the English government, Carton allowed Mr. Stryver (the lawyer Carton worked for) to reveal him "Look well upon that gentleman, my learned friend there, and then look well upon the prisoner. How say you? Are they very like each other?" said Stryver (page 86). "My lord inquired of Mr. Stryver, whether they were next to try Mr. Carton for treason? But Mr. Stryver replied no" (Page 86). The court then released Darnay. This was one of the ways Sydney Carton presented assistance to others, and that shows that he is a good person who does not mind helping other people. After the trial Carton and Darnay met with each other, and they had a talk. Mr. Carton had told Darnay that he hated him because Lucy loved him. Couple of months after this incident, Mr. Carton asked to meet with Mr. Darnay. Carton asked Darnay to forgive him for the previous incident and also asked him to be his friend. "Mr. Darnay, I wish we might be friends" said Carton (page 251) "On the drunken occasion in question, I was insufferable about liking you and not liking you, I wish you would forget it" said Carton (page 252). This also proves that deep down in Carton?s heart, he carried to hatred but love for people, since he practically apologized to Darnay. Couple of Years after, the French Revolution had started. Charles Darnay was arrested. He was to be executed because he was an Evremonde. Sydney Carton made his arrangements and decided to die instead of him. Carton did that because he loved Lucy Manette (Darnay?s wife) very much and he wanted her to remain happy all her life. Indeed Sydney Carton was a drunk looser. However, he helped a lot of souls around him. He saved people?s lives and he made other people?s lives happier.
Dr. Alexander Manette was a prisoner in the Bastille for eighteen years. He was an innocent man; however, he was captured and put in prison by the brothers D?Evremonde. Dr. Manette helped a lot of people throughout his life; he sometimes sacrificed his own happiness for his beloved daughter, Lucy. Before Dr. Manette was sent to prison, he had done his best to help Madam Defarge?s family. Her family was captured by the Evremonde and were abused then killed. However, she escaped. Dr. Manette tried to offer them help to the fullest extent. He never turned his back on them, whenever they needed him he was always there. A while after that Dr. Manette was put in prison. During this period, he wrote a journal denouncing the brothers Evremonde and all their descendants. Charles Darnay was an Evremonde. Charles Darnay told Dr. Manette that he loved Lucy and she loved him. He also told him about his real name. He did not want to keep any secrets from him. When Dr. Manette learned about his real identity, he did not forbid him from marrying his daughter, even though he denounced the Evremonde. He did not forbid him because he cared about Lucy?s happiness. He wanted her to live happily with the person she loved. "Any fancies, any reasons, any apprehensions, anything whatsoever, new or old, against the man she really loved-the direct responsibilities thereof not lying on his hand-they should all be obliterated for her sake-she is everything to me more to me than suffering" said Dr. Manette (page 163). This also proves that Dr. Manette was a very unselfish man, and that he cared about other people?s happiness even more than his own. When Charles Darnay was in prison during the French Revolution, Dr. Manette stood beside him all the time. He did his best to get him out of prison. He defended him all the way. When Mr. Defarge (the leader of the French Revolution and Dr. Manette?s former servant) revealed Dr. Manette?s old journal that he wrote when he was still in prison denouncing the Evremonde, Charles Darnay had to be taken to the prison again. At that time, Dr. Manette went through the worst psychological state. He felt that he betrayed Lucy and Darnay. Although nobody blamed him, he blamed himself. Those events prove that Dr. Manette was a kind and warm person. He did nothing to harm anyone, at least not intentionally. He always tried to help everyone.
Charles Darnay denied his real identity to everyone around him. His real name was D?Evremonde, the name that brought shame to him. He was born of a French father and an English mother. Darnay was his mother?s name. Unlike his dad and uncle, he was a very kind man. Darnay left France and went to England, so he could work and earn money, and leave his dad?s family. He left France so he could leave his identity that bought affliction and pain to him. When Sydney Carton told Darnay that he hated him, Darnay never hurt him and he did not posses any hatred towards him. When Sydney asked him later to be his friend, Darnay told him that they were already friends. This proves that Darnay had no hatred but love inside his heart. "We were already friends, I hope" said Darnay (page 251) "You are good enough to say so" said Carton to Darnay (page 251). Before Charles Darnay reveals his love to Lucy, he first went to ask Dr. Manette if it was not harming to do so. Charles Darnay feared that his marriage to Lucy might interfere with her relationship with her father. However, Darnay did not wish for that to happen, he wanted Dr. Manette and his daughter to have a good relationship. "But, do not believe, that if my fortune were so cast as that, being one day so happy as to make her my wife, I muse at any time put any separation between her and you, I could or would breathe a word of what I say now-besides that I should know it to be hopeless, I should know it to be a baseness. If I had any such possibility, even at a remote distance of years, harboured in my thoughts, and hidden in my heart- if it ever had been there-I could not now touch this honoured hand" said Darnay to Dr. Manette (page 160). This shows that Charles Darnay is a man of great manners, respect and love to other people. When Dr. Manette?s journal, where he denounced the Evremonde, was revealed, that meant that Darnay had to go back to the prison and was going to be executed. Charles Darnay never blamed or hated Dr. Manette. He never possessed any anger towards him. He knew that his family had done wrong, and he willingly admitted it. He also made up excuses for why Dr. Manette could have written that. He also tried to convince Dr. Manette that it was not his fault. Charles Darnay had always been a noble man. He was always polite, loving and caring towards everyone. He ever hurt or disappointed anyone.
Madam Defarge was a very evil character in the novel. She had so much hatred in her heart towards everyone who tried to do anything against her will. The brothers D?Evremonde killed Madam Defarge?s family (because they were peasants). That made her yearn for revenge. Madam Defarge and her husband were the leaders of the French Revolution. Madam Defarge had a very bad attitude since the beginning of the novel. She had knitted the names of every single aristocrat that came across her, so she would execute them and their families when the revolution begins. Although Charles Darnay was a very kind gentleman, she wanted to execute him because he was an Evremonde. Even though, he admitted that he was ashamed of his uncle, she still ordered that he was to be killed. Although Dr. Manette was good to Mr. Defarge, although Mr. Defarge loved him and respected him a lot, Madam Defarge had no mercy on Lucy Manette and her daughter. Since Lucy was married to Darnay, then the whole family was considered to be Evremonde. Madam Defarge wanted Lucy Manette Darnay and her child to be executed as well. When Lucy and her daughter tried to escape, Madam Defarge went after them, hoping that she could kill them. However, Lucy?s housekeeper, Miss Pross, killed her. Madam Defarge was a cold-hearted woman. She had mercy on no one; she cared about no one. At the end Madam Defarge got what she deserved, she was killed.
The Marquise D?Evremonde was a very cruel and ignorant French aristocrat. He cared for no one but himself. The Marquise?s carriage had hit a little child. He showed absolutely no compassion or sympathy toward Gaspard, the child?s dad. He was very cruel, his only concern was if his horses were hurt or not. "It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you forever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses?" said the Marquise D?Evremonde (page 130-131). The Marquise had always been very cruel with the peasants. He gave them no food, left them hungry. He left them without cloths. Most of all, he had no love to any of them. He did not treat them like human, not even like animals; he treated them far worse than that. "I would ride over any of you very willingly and exterminate you from earth" said the Marquise D?Evremonde (page 132). The Marquise D?Evremonde was a very selfish cold-blooded aristocrat. He cared for no one from his people. He was evil.
Sydney Carton has contributed to the theme of the novel-Everyone should have both physical and moral courage and to be able to sacrifice everything in the name of love. Sydney Carton had shown to the readers that he had the physical and moral courage. He happily and willingly was able to sacrifice his life for the persona he dearly loved. When Sydney Carton told Lucy that he loved her, he also promised her that he would do anything for her. He promised her that he would give his own precious life for her happiness. "Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!" said Carton (page 184). Sydney Carton gave his life for Charles Darnay, Lucy?s beloved husband. Carton wanted nothing but to know that Lucy will live a happy life. He loved her from his heart. He cared about her; therefore he wanted her to be happy. Sydney Carton could have let Darnay die, and he could have had Lucy, the love of his life for himself, he could have enjoyed her all his life. However, he did not do that, he cared about her happiness and that?s why he died for Darnay. Sydney Carton believed and knew very well that what he was about to do was going to provide happiness to everyone around him, to Lucy Darnay, Charles Darnay, young Lucy (their daughter) and to Dr. Manette. Carton believed that it was the best thing to do, he believed that by making his loved one happy, he would be loved, he would be satisfied and he would be respected. "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" said Carton (page 466). Sydney Carton had courage; he had physical courage and moral courage. He truly loved Lucy. He understood the real meaning of love. He died for it, for love.
Sydney Carton?s loving soul, Dr. Manette?s kind personality, Charles Darnay?s noble behavior, Madam Defarge?s evil deeds and the Marquise D?Evremonde?s cruel ignorance, all prove that Charles Dickens used archetypal characters. They have been the way they are since the beginning of the novel. The good was never cruel and the evil was never kind.
The theme was very well presented, by the development of Sydney Carton?s character. He sacrificed his life to make others happy. He sacrificed his life in the name of love. Sydney Carton was indeed a hero.