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The Role of Fate in A Tale of Two Cities

 

 

 

Often in literature, authors use other characters to dramatically change one's fate instantaneously and beneficially. Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities presents such situations through the characters Lucie Manette, Dr. Manette and Charles Darnay. Lucie, unaware of the existence of her supposedly dead father, Dr. Manette, suddenly discovers through Jarvis Lorry that her father still lives. Lucie learns of the optimistic plans to return her beloved father back to a healthy condition and her future involvement in her father's life. Dr. Manette, after 18 years of imprisonment and harsh treatment, experiences detrimental harm to his mental state and loses his ability to lead a normal life. However, Lorry reunites Dr. Manette with his daughter and travels with them to England in hopes of brightening Dr. Manette's future and improving his deteriorated condition. Later, Charles Darnay, a prisoner in England on trial for treason, receives an acquittal, barely escaping death. Darnay avoids a highly expected guilty verdict with the assistance of his defense lawyers, Mr. Stryver and Mr. Carton. By examining Lucie Manette, Dr. Manette and Charles Darnay, the reader comes to see that through the assistance and intervention of others, one's fate suddenly changes to benefit him.

 

Lucie Manette experiences a positive change of fate with the sudden intervention and assistance of Mr. Lorry. Lorry unexpectedly notifies Lucie of the existence of her father, as he describes his plans and her role in reviving Dr. Manette to a healthy state. "But he has been found. He is alive...Your father has been taken to the house of an old servant in Paris, and we are going there: I, to identify him if I can: you, to restore him to life, love, duty, rest, comfort"(57). Lucie's future takes an optimistic turn, as Lorry informs her of his plans to return her father to healthiness and her obligations in attempting to achieve such a task. Lucie, once unaware of the mere existence of her father, suddenly learns of her ability to meet and live with him, while loving and comforting him to healthiness. Lorry abruptly interjects into Lucie's life, offering her a chance to bond with her father, a once unimaginable opportunity. Lucie, with the intervention of Mr. Lorry, experiences a dramatic and beneficial change of fate, as she can finally develop a relationship with her previously unknown father.

 

Much like Mr. Lorry assists in enhancing Lucie's future, he improves the future of Dr. Manette by facilitating his mental recovery. Lorry travels to France to reunite Dr. Manette with his daughter, Lucie, with the intention of returning to England and improving Dr. Manette's condition. "The prisoner had got into a coach, and his daughter had followed him...Mr. Jarvis Lorry, sitting opposite the buried man who had been dug out, and wondering what subtle powers were forever lost to him, and what were capable of restoration - the old inquiry: `I hope you care to be recalled to life?' "(80-81). Dr. Manette, previously confined in a room and practically buried away from society, suddenly receives a promising opportunity to return to a normal lifestyle. Lorry reunites the lost and confused Dr. Manette with his daughter, hoping that a comforting bond will develop and eventually restore Dr. Manette's mental health. Lorry removes Dr. Manette from his monotonous and miserable existence, as Dr. Manette's once pessimistic future brightens. With Lorry's assistance, Dr. Manette experiences a sudden and beneficial change of fate, as he finally begins to escape the torture of his past and recover to normality.

 

Just as Dr. Manette experiences a beneficial and instantaneous change of fate with the assistance of others, so too does Charles Darnay. Darnay, on trial for treason, barely receives an acquittal, as his defense congratulates him on such a relief. ."..Dr. Manette, Lucie Manette his daughter, Mr. Lorry, the solicitor for the defense, and its counsel Mr. Stryver, stood gathered round Mr. Charles Darnay - just released - congratulating him on his escape from death" (109). Darnay, expected to receive capital punishment, cheats death as his lawyers, Mr. Stryver and Mr. Carton, help allay the heavy accusations against him. Stryver and Carton succeed in accomplishing the unimaginable, freeing such a loathed and wanted convict, as Darnay suddenly transforms from pessimistically sad to victoriously jovial. Darnay, once expecting to die, experiences a sudden and beneficial change of fate as his lawyers, Stryver and Carton, assist him in escaping death.

 

Lucie Manette, Dr. Manette and Charles Darnay all experience a sudden and beneficial change of fate with the assistance of other characters. Mr. Lorry reunites Lucie with her father, Dr. Manette, brightening the future of both of them. Lucie, deprived of a father during childhood, suddenly discovers the existence of her father and her golden opportunity to bond with him. Dr. Manette, troubled by years of harsh treatment, begins his once unimaginable path to recovery. Later, Charles Darnay, a prisoner suspected of treason, avoids a highly expected guilty verdict with assistance of his lawyers, Stryver and Carton. Dickens masterfully depicts that one's fate can change at any instant to benefit him. Hopefully, such a sudden and beneficial change of fate will occur to people worldwide, especially to those living in a constant state of fear and violence.

 

 

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