A TAle of Two Cities

A TAle of Two Cities

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A TAle of Two Cities

In every great novel there is a theme that is constant throughout the story. One of the better known themes portrays the fight of good verses evil. Different authors portray this in different ways. Some use colors while others use seasons to show the contrast. Still others go for the obvious and use characters. But what makes them all so different is the authors point of view. In Charles Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities, he portrays good and evil in somewhat of a unique way. Dickens shows this difference by using characters, although we sometimes have to think about the difference between the good and the evil and wonder if they are not the same in the long run. Good and evil differs with the characters in this novel, yet sometimes coincides.

One way Dickens portrays a good and evil character contrast is with Sydney Carton and John Barsad. Carton being the good and Barsad the evil. For instance, when Carton tells Lucie he would "do anything for her" it is a promise that he keeps until the end. Carton is a very trustworthy man and would do anything for someone he cares about. Anything including giving up his own life. Barsad, on the other hand, is a spy that doesn't care what he does or whom he hurts. Barsad is definitely not trustworthy for the simple fact that he has dedicated his life to deception. Also, he would do anything to save his own life. This is one way that Dicken's contrasts good and evil using characters.

However Dickens also has those characters that are supposed to be good and evil except the reader can't always tell which is which, this happened with the peasants and aristocrats. At first the peasants are supposed to be the good and the aristocrats the evil, yet when the peasants have control they are just as bad as the aristocrats. When the aristocrats had all of the power they were bloodthirsty. They would "sentence a youth to death" for not kneeling for monks. This was a very bad time and this seems and is extremely evil. It seems as if the peasants were good, yet when the tables turned they acted the exact same way as the aristocrats. The peasants had "eleven hundred defenseless prisoners killed just because they could. So the peasants were just as evil as the aristocrats, even though both thought they had just cause.

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In reality, both the peasants and the aristocrats symbolized good and evil at some point in the novel.

Two other characters that symbolize good and evil are Madame Defarge and Miss Pross. Although the reader would think that Miss Pross was the embodiment of good and Madame Defarge was the epitome of evil, that is not completely true. Pross and Defarge both symbolize good and evil in their own particular manner. Miss Pross and Madame Defarge are both quite domineering. One seeks to control Lucie while the other seeks to control her husband. Miss Pross shows this domineering attitude every time she makes a comment about how, "nobody is good enough to marry Lucie". Miss Pross wants to decide for Lucie who she is to marry; the only one "worthy" of her is Miss Pross's brother Solomon. Even though she doesn't get her way about who Lucie eventually marries, she still tries to maintain control over her. Madame Defarge utterly dominates her husband John, through the manipulation of his fears to accomplish her own selfish agenda. A classic scenario depicts Monsieur Defarge reaching the maximum level of guilt for all the pain and suffering he has inflicted upon the aristocrats. It is at this point that he is about to relieve his overburdened conscience when Madame Defarge exerts her power of influence over John to change his mind and yield to her twisted and evil ways. Through this extraordinary influence over the mind and will of one individual, Madame Defarge displays a mighty and venomous capacity to accomplish nearly everything upon which she sets her wicked sights.

The contrast between good and evil in A Tale of Two Cities is as old as mankind. This drama has been reenacted throughout our history. Although good and evil seem to be totally opposite, they can also stimulate many of the same traits. Can good actually posses evil? Can evil exist with good? What does it take to redeem the good and extinguish the evil? These still remain the issues of every mans heart which more often then not elude even the wisest of people.
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