Reversal of Characters in A Tale of Two Cities

Reversal of Characters in A Tale of Two Cities

Length: 529 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Reversal of Characters in A Tale of Two Cities

 

 

      When writing a book, authors often focus on a central issue or theme.

However, other themes develop through the course of the piece, either

consciously or subconsciously.  One such theme is a reversal of characters in A

Tale of Two Cities.  Individuals and groups of people change dramatically from

the outset of the book all the way up to its conclusion.  Three of the most

obvious changes in character are Sydney Carton, Madame DeFarge, and the French

people as a whole.

 

     Sydney Carton is first described at Darnay's trial as not paying attention

to what's going on, sort of an oaf.  He is portrayed as a drunk, and even admits

this to Darnay on their "date."  However, love, they say, is strong;  Carton's

love for Lucy changed him greatly though the course of the novel.  He stopped

drinking when he visited, and even pledged his life to her, and everyone she

loved.  Carton changed even more dramatically when death on the guillotine was

approaching.  He waxed philosophical about the future, and even quoted a few

scriptures.  This is most certainly not the man first seen at the Old Bailey

with the sideways wig.

 

      Another interesting change took place in the character of Madame Defarge.

 She is first portrayed as a woman of principle who is helping her husband with

the revolution. However, Madame Defarge makes a startling metamorphosis from

supporting character to antagonist when she is revealed to be the shadow.  She

is shown to be cruel and petty, not the compassionate woman one would assume of

a leader of a revolution against tyranny.  This part of  the novel casts a

shadow of doubt over the rest of the characters, and one begins to question the

validity of all the characters.

 

      Finally, the French people themselves start out as downtrodden and

miserable victims of a corrupt system.  But it is illustrated that they could be

just as heartless as their rich counterparts, the aristocrats, when it came down

to it.  For example, anyone who was an aristocrat, or even associated with

aristocrats, was sentenced to death.  As the novel went on, the French people

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Reversal of Characters in A Tale of Two Cities." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=16398>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Charles Dickens’ Novel A Tale of Two Cities Essay

- Tale of Two Cities Sydney Carton is one of the main characters in Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities. He is a complex character throughout the book and can be viewed in a positive or negative light and can also be compared similarly to Dickens himself. At the end of the novel, Sydney Carton dies on the guillotine to spare Charles Darnay. How would you interpret Carton's sacrifice. Your answer, positively or negatively, will affect your judgment of his character, and of Dickens' entire work....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
712 words (2 pages)

A Tale Of Two Cities Essay example

- Charles Dickens’ characters in A Tale of Two Cities highlight themes in the book, and symbolize groups of people in the French Revolution, human characteristics, and emotions, sometimes through foils. Themes are the main ideas or underlying meanings in literary works; symbolism is when the author uses objects, people, or actions to represent something that is different from its literal definition. A character that displays the qualities that contrast with another character for the purpose of highlighting the other character’s traits is called a foil....   [tags: A Tale of Two Cities]

Research Papers
1206 words (3.4 pages)

Characters, Setting, and Conflicts in A Tale of Two Cities Essay

- Characters, Setting, and Conflicts in A Tale of Two Cities       In the novel, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens utilizes the characters, setting, conflicts, and other literary devices to convey the tone and establish an attitude about human beings and society.   Dickens connects this novel with the French Revolution. Many of his descriptions refer back to the Revolution and help convey the tone of depression. Dickens saw "similarities between the forces that led to the Revolution and the oppression and unrest occurring in England during his time" (Cliff notes)....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
2350 words (6.7 pages)

A Tale of Two Cities Essays: The Character of Lucie Manette

- The Character of Lucie Manette in A Tale of Two Cities Lucie Manette, in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, is a quiet young woman. She is deeply compassionate but never develops a real believable character. Her feelings, which are similar in all cases, are revealed to us when she interacts with her father Dr. Manette, Charles Darney, and Sydney Carton. During the scene in the shoemaker's shop the reader learns about daughter Manette through description, actions, and her words....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Free Essays
358 words (1 pages)

The Character of Lucie Manette in A Tale of Two Cities Essay

- The Character of Lucie Manette in A Tale of Two Cities Literature takes a single sentence and turns it into a powerful story with sorrow, humor, and mystery. Combined with literary elements, the reader experiences the power of extreme emotions and is taken past the boundaries of reality. In reading, a reader takes on the role of a character through characterization. They experience problems they would not usually encounter and the complications people endure to overcome obstacles....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
718 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on An Analysis of A Tale of Two Cities

- An Analysis of A Tale of Two Cities By reading the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, it gives us an understanding of the French Revolutionary War that cannot be found in textbooks. By reading between the lines, each of the characters represents the stirring emotions and reactions of the people that were affected by the War. Lucie Manett, who later becomes Lucie Darnay, is a tender and affectionate loving person. She is a very virtuous woman who reaches out to all human beings in need of love....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Free Essays
464 words (1.3 pages)

Essay Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities

- Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities      Resurrection is a powerful theme found throughout the plot of A Tale of Two Cities.  Many of the characters in the novel are involved with the intertwining themes of love, redemption, and good versus evil.  The theme of resurrection involves certain aspects of all of these themes and brings the story together.         Dr. Manette is the first person to experience resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities.  He is taken away from his pregnant wife and then imprisoned for eighteen very long years.  Over the years, his condition deteriorates until he forgets his real name and mindlessly cobbles shoes to pass the time.  In "Book the...   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
1205 words (3.4 pages)

Foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities Essay

- Foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities How does diabolically spilt blood and mysterious footsteps become important in a historical fiction novel. What makes these murder-mystery traits relevant. Charles Dickens, author of A Tale of Two Cities, creatively foreshadows future events using suspenseful topics: A forbidden declaration of love, a tragically beautiful sunset streaked with crimson, echoing footsteps of a past that will not be forgotten, and wine stained streets soon to be smeared with blood....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
675 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities

- Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities     In A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, many characters are given second chances as their lives are resurrected. The central heroine woman, Lucy Manette, is responsible for the resurrections of Sydney Carton and Dr. Alexander Manette's lives. She gives them inspiration and love to help them recover from their seemingly hopeless states. In turn, Carton gives up his own life in order to save a friend. The lives of Sydney Carton, Dr. Manette, and Charles Darnay are all resurrected at times when hope is lost....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
1152 words (3.3 pages)

Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities Essay

- Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities During a time of lost hope, death and war, the `golden thread', Lucie Manette plays the roll of a heroine doing everything she can to make sure the important people in her life are loved. Lucie provides not only warmth toward her father, Dr. Manette, but also towards the man that yearns for Lucie's love; Sydney Carton. Despite all the negativity that surrounds Lucie and her loved ones, she doesn't fail to lead her father and Carton to rebirth. Unlike the process of actual birth, rebirth is associated with rejuvenation....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Free Essays
1007 words (2.9 pages)

Related Searches


grew more heartless, for the executions continued without end.  This last

reversal in character is the most disturbing, because it holds true in the real

world.

 

      These examples are but a few of the many in A Tale of Two Cities, and

this theme of character reversal one of a myriad of possible interpretations.

However, the fact remains that these integral characters all  changed

drastically: Carton for love, Madame Defarge for revenge, and the French people

for power. The cause of these reversals was honor; Carton had pledged his life

to Lucy, and Madame Defarge and the French people wanted to honor France.

Without these reversals in character, Dickens would have had a much more

convoluted novel, and perhaps would have even had to introduce even more

characters into the plot.  As it is, the changes wrap up the book with one

decisive stroke, leaving the reader with a sense of closure rather than

apprehension.
Return to 123HelpMe.com