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“A Tale of Two Cities”: Essay

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"A Tale of Two Cities": Essay Throughout history, authors have used duality to illustrate different kinds of human nature and make characters more interesting. This tool was used in "A Tale of Two Cities", by Charles Dickens as a way to make the novel more melodramatic. It was apparent that he felt that it was important because it was clearly one of the main themes of the novel. Dickens used the device to show how good and evil affected the characters and to create situations throughout the novel. Two characters who were greatly shaped by this device were Dr. Alexandre Manette and attorney Sydney Carton. When the reader is first introduced to Dr. Manette they are led to believe that he is insane. When his daughter Lucy first meets him, he looks gaunt, has aged prematurely, and has taken up cobbling for no apparent reason. It is later explained to the reader that after 18 years in the Bastille (a French prison), he has become insane. ...read more.


Sydney Carton exhibits a drastic change as well. Early on, Carton has a promising life as a bright and talented student. However, his associate takes advantage of him by having him do all the work. Soon thereafter, Carton begins drinking; a habit that soon consumes him as the pressures of work bare down on him even harder than before. This continual cycle (becoming upset, drinking, plunging deeper into depression, drinking, etc.) devours him. Upon wondering about his place in the world, Carton decides that it isn't possible for him to love any other human creature and that life no longer has any meaning for him. One night while out for drinks with Darnay, Carton realizes that he is the polar opposite of him. Even though both men look remarkably alike, it is as if Darnay represents what he could have been, had he not become an alcoholic. This is when the transformation of Carton's character begins. At the trial where he is a co-counsel for Charles Darnay, Carton sees Lucy Manette for the first time and falls in love with her. ...read more.


As he is carted off through the streets in a tumbril, he has a serene and peaceful look on his face. Carton imagines what will happen, following his death. Lucy will be happy again because she will be with her husband once more. He imagines that in the future, they will name one of their sons after him and that he will turn out to be an impartial and righteous judge. This way, his memory will live on. "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." It is with this final sentence that a once lost man finds his place in the world and the purpose of his life. As one can see, the use of duality allowed Dickens to add depth to the characters. It allowed him to successfully illustrate the battle between good and evil that goes on inside the individual. This method allows the reader to question their own human nature and to analyze the society that they live in. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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