A Tale of Two Cities: The Making of Dickens' Character of Sydney Carton

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“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.” Book 3, Chapter 15, Page 361 [last page in the chapter]

Discovering the principal characters in any novel and observing how they relate to one another provides a person with hours of enjoyment. The very idea that a writer can with words create a world in which these characters can grow and mature in any way the author desires should remind the reader that, in many ways, their lives are nothing more than the shadows of the master author’s design. Charles Dickens, without a doubt, spun words into spools of yarn that he could use to create wonderful, inspiring and sometimes very dark individuals. It is one of these wonderful enduring creations that have captured the minds of more than a few of his readers. From the pages of “A Tale of Two Cities” Dickens develops Sydney Carton as man of many sorrows yet a man who threads his way through the hearts and minds of those who would best be served by his love for Lucie. The goal of this paper is to introduce the reader to the hero of this epic novel. In his last words Sydney Carton sums up what many hope for but few realize “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.” Book 3, Chapter 15, Page 361 [last page in the chapter]

A number of writers have attempted to help the readers of Charles Dickens’ novel understand the role of Sydney Carton. He has been written about as being a picture of Jesus Christ who takes the place of Charles Darnay at the guillotine. And perhaps they have a point. But, if the critics of the novel would remember, it is his love for Luci...

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...ings greater comfort to Carton than knowing that he gives to Lucie the one thing that he had wanted to give her all along, the one thing that he had which had seen the depths of apathy and the splendor of love.

Charles Dickens failed in his own life and marriage. Dickens found in Carton the person he wanted to be. Somewhere in Carton lived Charles Dickens. Somewhere in the novel Dickens found the redemption he desired so desperately.

Lucie’s love of life and her calm intelligent love for others are huge in her ability to bring the best out in a person. Those around her are headed for greatness as she has this greatness in her. Dickens uses Lucie to speak volumes into the lives of those around her. She is the one who directs the lives of others. If it were not for Lucie, there would be no Sydney Carton, and there would be no hope for Charles Dickens.

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