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"It is possible to admire Sydney Carton but never to like him" - How far do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

"It is possible to admire Sydney Carton but never to like him". How far do you agree with this statement? In the end of "A Tale of Two Cities", when Charles Darnay is to be executed on the guillotine Sydney Carton takes his place and sacrifices his own life for Darnay. He took his place due to their strong similarity in appearance and died for a man he could even be considered to be jealous of. And for this, surely he would be admired. In order to fairly agree or disagree with this statement one should evaluate why someone would come to that opinion. Some may take a positive view that Carton's act is a triumph of his own love over the hatred of the people of the Revolution (even though it wasn't actually Carton they hated). Carton meets his death with great dignity. In fulfilling his old promise to Lucie Manette Carton could be said to be at peace as the spectators see "the peacefullest man's face ever beheld" at the guillotine die. ...read more.

Middle

"Since it is my misfortune, Mr Carton, to have made you more unhappy than you were before you knew me-". For this reason some may develop sympathy for him, or perhaps he deserves this unrequited love. Some may even admire Carton for knowing only to well that he is not good enough for Lucie, "I know very well that you can have no tenderness for me; I ask for none; I am even thankful that it cannot be." However, one could say that this, at least, is expected of him. Throughout the book, starting form Darnay's first trial, one's admiration for Carton builds. One may have admiration for Carton at Darnay's first trial because he exposed a false witness, Barsad, and Darnay was acquitted of high treason, which saved his life. However this admiration is limited by the fact that it didn't really take a genius to do it. Although in Dickens' time the real Carton was a disgrace in today's society one may perceive Cartons persona of being a cynical drunk with a lack of self-esteem as well as an intellectual and handsome as "cool" to some extent. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, a jealous man would'nt sacrifice himself, surely he would go after Lucie and leave Darnay to die. Carton couldn't do that because he made a promise to Lucie and he respects her so, "can I use no influence to serve you? Have I no power for good, with you, at all?" "Let me carry through the rest of my misdirected life, the remembrance that I opened my heart to you" It is easy to understand why someone would make this claim (the title) because no one likes a drunk with no self-respect who's just throwing away his life. However the fact that he sacrificed his life not only to save Darnay but to keep his promise to Lucie cannot be ignored and for this he deserves some admiration. I am very much inclined to agree with the statement for that reason, but my thoughts of Carton also conflict with the statement slightly. This is because he cannot have the lady he loves and he is trying to die with some dignity, for this I have a lot of sympathy for him and so, to some extent, I am inclined to like him. Seb Ostlie 11RJ English Coursework: A Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens ...read more.

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