Essay, Research Paper: Tale Of Two Cities

Literature: Charles Dickens

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In the fictitious novel Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens lays out
a brilliant plot. Charles Dickens was born in England on February 7, 1812 nears
the south coast. His family moved to London when he was ten years old and
quickly went into debt. To help support him, Charles went to work at a blacking
warehouse when he was twelve. His father was soon imprisoned for debt and
shortly thereafter the rest of the family split apart. Charles continued to work
at the blacking warehouse even after his father inherited some money and got out
of prison. When he was thirteen, Dickens went back to school for two years. He
later learned shorthand and became a freelance court reporter. He started out as
a journalist at the age of twenty and later wrote his first novel, The Pickwick
Papers. He went on to write many other novels, including Tale of Two Cities in
1859. Tale of Two Cities takes place in France and England during the troubled
times of the French Revolution. There are travels by the characters between the
countries, but most of the action takes place in Paris, France. The wineshop in
Paris is the hot spot for the French revolutionists, mostly because the wineshop
owner, Ernest Defarge, and his wife, Madame Defarge, are key leaders and
officials of the revolution. Action in the book is scattered out in many places;
such as the Bastille, Tellson's Bank, the home of the Manettes, and largely, the
streets of Paris. These places help to introduce many characters into the plot.
One of the main characters, Madame Therese Defarge, is a major antagonist who
seeks revenge, being a key revolutionist. She is very stubborn and unforgiving
in her cunning scheme of revenge on the Evermonde family. Throughout the story,
she knits shrouds for the intended victims of the revolution. Charles Darnay,
one of whom Mrs. Defarge is seeking revenge, is constantly being put on the
stand and wants no part of his own lineage. He is a languid protagonist and has
a tendency to get arrested and must be bailed out several times during the
story. Dr. Alexander Manette, a veteran prisoner of the Bastille and moderate
protagonist, cannot escape the memory of being held and sometimes relapses to
cobbling shoes. Dr. Manette is somewhat redundant as a character in the novel,
but plays a very significant part in the plot. Dr. Manette's daughter, Lucie
Manette, a positive protagonist, is loved by many and marries Charles Darnay.
She is a quiet, emotional person and a subtle protagonist in the novel. One who
never forgot his love for Lucie, the protagonist Sydney Carton changed
predominately during the course of the novel. Sydney, a look-alike of Charles
Darnay, was introduced as a frustrated, immature alcoholic, but in the end, made
the ultimate sacrifice for a good friend. These and other characters help to
weave an interesting and dramatic plot. Dr. Manette has just been released from
the Bastille, and Lucie, eager to meet her father whom she thought was dead,
goes with Mr. Jarvis Lorry to bring him back to England. Dr. Manette is in an
insane state from his long prison stay and does nothing but cobble shoes,
although he is finally persuaded to go to England. Several years later, Lucie,
Dr. Manette, and Mr. Lorry are witnesses at the trial of Charles Darnay. Darnay,
earning his living as a tutor, frequently travels between England and France and
is accused of treason in his home country of France. He is saved from being
prosecuted by Sydney Carton, who a witness confuses for Darnay, thus not making
the case positive. Darnay ended up being acquitted for his presumed crime.
Darnay and Carton both fall in love with Lucie and want to marry her. Carton, an
alcoholic at the time, realizes that a relationship with Lucie is impossible,
but he still tells her that he loves her and would do anything for her. Darnay
and Lucie marry each other on the premises of the two promises between Dr.
Manette and Darnay. Right after the marriage, while the newlyweds are on their
honeymoon, Dr. Manette has relapsed and cobbles shoes for nine days straight.
France's citizens arm themselves for a revolution and, led by the Defarges,
start the revolution by raiding the Bastille. Shortly before the start of the
revolution, the Marquis runs over a child in the streets of Paris. Gaspard, the
child’s father, who is also a part of the revolution, assassinates him soon
after. Three years later, right in the middle of the revolution, Darnay is
called to France to help Gabelle, an old friend. As soon as he goes down what
seems to be a one-way street to France, he is arrested (in France) for being an
enemy of the state. Dr. Manette, Lucie, and the Darnay's daughter go shortly
after to Paris to see if they can be of any help to Charles. When the delayed
trial finally takes place, Dr. Manette, who is in the people's favor, uses his
influence to free Charles. The same day, Charles is re-arrested on charges set
forth by the Defarges and one other mystery person. The next day, at a trial
that had absolutely no delay, Charles is convicted and sentenced to death.
Because of the despondent situation, Dr. Manette has a relapse and cobbles shoe.
Sydney Carton overhears plot to kill Lucie, her daughter, and Dr. Manette and
has them immediately get ready to leave the country. Carton, having spy
contacts, gets into the prison in which Darnay is being held, drugs him and
switches places with him. Lucie, Charles, and their daughter successfully leave
the country. Sydney Carton, making the ultimate sacrifice, partly for Lucie,
goes to the guillotine in place of Charles. Just before he dies, Carton has a
vision in which society is greatly improved and the Darnays have a son named
after him. This dramatic plot revolves around several central themes. One theme
involves revenge. The evil effects of revenge bring out one’s bad side. Madame
Defarge is the main subject of this implicit theme. She turns into a killing
machine because she must get revenge. An example of this is when she finds out
Charles Darnay is an Evermonde and is going to marry Lucie Manette. She knits
Darnay's name into the death register. Another key theme in the novel has to do
with courage and sacrifice. There were many sacrifices in this novel by many
different characters. Sydney made the ultimate sacrifice Carton because of his
love for Lucie and his friendship with Darnay, Carton is the example of one of
the most important themes implied in this book. Carton helps others, and does
not think so much of himself. Right before going to the guillotine, Carton sees
a better world, a world where he gave to others, not thinking of himself. These
themes help outline an interesting story.

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