Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities

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In society today, all people determine their lifestyle, personality and overall character by
both positive and negative traits that they hold. Sydney Carton in Charles Dickens’ A Tale
of Two Cities was a drunken lawyer who had an extremely low self- esteem. He possesed
many negative characteristics which he used in a positive way. Carton drastically changed
his life around and became a new man.
     Sydney is not the man he first appeared to be. He is first described at Darnay’s trial
as slouching and not paying attention. He is seen as a drunk who had many personal
issues. Carton feels that there is no hope for him, and that his life will never improve. He
has much more potential and could be so much more in life, yet he chooses to remain in
the shadow of others. Sydney has a dramatic life and is an alchoholic who sees nothing
positive in himself.
     Carton demonstrates a sensitivity which helps others in the long run. His partner,
Mr. Stryver relaxes while Sydney works long hard hours to prepare the defense materials
for the following days. Carton does most of Stryvers work, he is a man of great talent but
lacks the character traits that would make those talents work to his own advantage instead
of others that he helps. He always use to be satisfied with faling into his rank and never did
anything to attempt to change his life. He further destroys himself with drinking and
although he is not satisfied with his life now, he feels that he cannot do anything to change
it.
     Sydney’s love for Lucie Manette changed him greatly in a positive way. One day
when Sydney visited the Manette residence he called on Lucie and pledged his love to her.
After hearing this, Lucie feels nothing but compassion for Carton. He asked nothing more
of Lucie than to always remember how deeply he cared for her, and that he would make
any sacrifice to her or anyone dear to her. Lucie was the main reason for bringing out the
new , more positve Sydney Carton. He now looked at things with a more positive attitude
and a new personal strength was seen in his later actions.
     Carton’s final act in this novel shows what a brave man he was and he acts upon
his true love for Lucie. After the second arrest of Charles Darnay, Carton urges Dr.
Manette to attempt to use his influence to free Charles. When Carton is speaking with
little Lucie, Charles and Lucie’s daughter, she begs him to do something to save her

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father. After Carton leaves the Manette’s house he devises a plan to switch places with
Darnay. As he planed the events, he ended up in Darnay’s cell waiting to be beheaded.
Before Carton is beheaded his mind becomes completely clear. He looks at his life and
knows he is going to a far better place. “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.” (367) Carton’s
act of saving Charles Darnay was truly a positive desicion for himself. He had a promise to
Lucie and he wasn’t going to dissapoint her.
     Sydney Carton picked up the pieces of his life and became a new man, which
allowed him to die with a positive view on life instead of the recently changed negative
outlook. His love for Lucie changed him for the better in so many ways and let him
experience feelings that he had held inside of him for a long time. He became a
compassionate individual , and died with a clear conscience.
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