The Dynamic Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities

The Dynamic Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities

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The Dynamic Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities

 

The most dynamic character in Charles Dickens, 'A Tale of Two Cities,' appears as Sydney Carton. First, Carton presents himself as a drunk, lazy attorney, who feels as though his life has no meaning. However, Carton as well as others know deep down that his life does have true meaning. Carton professes his love to Lucie Manette. Inexplicably, Carton becomes a changed man; this important turning point molds the remainder of the novel. After he exits the den, he finds his independence. When Sydney Carton becomes enlightened, he transforms into a Christ-like figure. He begins to shoulder his way through life.

 

At the beginning of the novel, Sydney Carton presents himself as a drunken attorney. When Carton converses with Charles Darnay, Dickens presents Carton as a drunk, "Carton, who smelt of port wine, and did not appear to be quite sober" (89). Carton appears constantly drunk at the beginning of the novel. Also, Carton has no sense of self-worth. When Carton drinks at the Bar with Mr. Stryver, Stryver describes him as, "[Y]our way is, and always was, a lame way. You summon no energy and purpose" (95). Dickens, also describes Carton as, "Sydney Carton, idlest and most unpromising of men" (92). As most people believe, Carton feels that he himself has no purpose. He agrees with the way other people feel about him and takes no initiative.

 

Proclaiming his love to Lucie Manette before her wedding, Carton has a turning point and becomes enlightened. Carton converses with Miss Manette, "O Miss Manette... think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you" (156). Apparently, Carton becomes a changed man; he becomes a caring person who tries to help others. However, Carton always noticed Lucie Manette; when they were in the courtroom, Carton focuses on Miss Manette. Dickens describes the scene, "when Miss Manette's head dropped upon her father's breast, he was the first to see it." Carton constantly focuses on Lucie. He makes her the center of his attention.

 

Finally, throughout the novel, Dickens perceives Carton as a Christ-like figure.

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Carton acts as a resurrection character in the novel. He has a rebirth after his enlightenment. Before Carton becomes the twenty-third victim of the guillotine, he recites a line from the Bible, "I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (366). In this falling of Carton's life, he provides an image that claims he appears to be Christ on Earth.

 

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 
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