In his masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens strengthens his theme of paired opposites by juxtaposing the characters of Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. Initially, it seems as though Carton and Darnay are completely bipolar. While Darnay exhibits nothing but poise and manners, Carton is crude and unmotivated. However, as the novel progresses, Sydney Carton proves to be a far more complex character than he once seemed. He begins to reveal a multifaceted personality---one of underlying nobility, of selflessness, and of course, unconditional love for Lucie Manette. Eventually, Sydney transforms into the calm, knowing man that Darnay once was, and Darnay degenerates into a useless, stupefied character. The similarities and differences between Darnay and Carton, including the absolute reversal of their roles, can be explained through a chronological analysis of A Tale of Two Cities.
When Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay first meet in the beginning of Book Two, they are complete opposites. At Darnay's trial, Sydney has the look of an inept, disheveled attorney, staring indifferently at the ceiling to pass the time (Dickens 75). However, it is not long before he shows his true intelligence, after he shrewdly saves the...
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Compare and Contrast Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution
In the novel, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, there are many references made by Dickens to the French Revolution. At times some of these references can be considered questionable. The references that I have researched include the storming of the Bastille, the guillotine and the aristocracy.
The Bastille was a fortress and state prison in Paris until its demolition which started in 1789. On July 14th, 1789, between eight and nine hundred Parisians, (mostly women) gathered in front of a medieval fortress, the Bastille. They were looking for weapons and gunpowder. They stormed the prison; 98 were killed, and 73 wounded. This was a Jacquerie. Although the Bastille contained no hope for weapons, the FALL OF BASTILLE served as a great symbol of the Revolution. When the storming of the Bastille occurred in the book, it was to get vengeance on the mercenaries whom had oppressed them, not to look for weapons and gun powder. Another difference is that there were seven newly liberated prisoners, and seven murdered men at the end of this gory siege. "Seven prisoners released, seven gory heads on pikes, the keys of the accursed fortress of the eight strong towers, some discovered letters and other memorials of prisoners of old time, long dead of broken hearts--such, and such-like, the loudly echoing footsteps of Saint Antoine escort through Paris streets in mid-July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine." (1)
The guillotine was a method of death commonly used during the French revolution. The tumbrels were the transporters of the prisoners that were to be executed by the guillotine. "Six tumbrels carry the days wine to La Guillotine."(2) After a head was severed, it would fall into a waiting basket; this was true in the novel and in fact. "Crash!-A head is held up out of the basket." (3) The sharpness of the blade was also referred