Tale Of Two Cities Charictarization Essay Research

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Tale Of Two Cities Charictarization Essay, Research Paper -LUCIE MANETTE (DARNAY) One way you may approach Lucie Manette is as the central figure of the novel. Think about the many ways she affects her fellow characters. Although she is not responsible for liberating her father, Dr. Manette, from the Bastille, Lucie is the agent who restores his damaged psyche through unselfish love and devotion. She maintains a calm, restful atmosphere in their Soho lodgings, attracting suitors (Charles Darnay, Stryver, Sydney Carton) and brightening the life of family friend Jarvis Lorry. Home is Lucie’s chosen territory, where she displays her fireside virtues of tranquility, fidelity, and motherhood. It’s as a symbol of home that her centrality and influence are greatest. Even her

physical attributes promote domestic happiness: her blonde hair is a “golden thread” binding her father to health and sanity, weaving a fulfilling life for her eventual husband, Charles Darnay, and their daughter. Lucie is central, too, in the sense that she’s caught in several triangles–the most obvious one involving Carton and Darnay. Lucie marries Darnay (he’s upcoming and handsome, the romantic lead) and exerts great influence on Carton. A second, subtler triangle involves Lucie, her father, and Charles Darnay. The two men share an ambiguous relationship. Because Lucie loves Darnay, Dr. Manette must love him, too. Yet Darnay belongs to the St. Evremonde family, cause of the doctor’s long imprisonment, and is thus subject to his undying curse. Apart from his

ancestry, Darnay poses the threat, by marrying Lucie, of replacing Dr. Manette in her affections. At the very end of the novel you’ll find Lucie caught in a third triangle–the struggle between Miss Pross and Madame Defarge. Miss Pross, fighting for Lucie, is fighting above all for love. Her triumph over Madame Defarge is a triumph over chaos and vengeance. Let’s move now from Lucie’s influence on other characters to Lucie herself. Sydney Carton, who loves Lucie devotedly, labels her a “little golden doll.” Carton means this ironically–he’s hiding his true feelings from Stryver–but some readers have taken his words at face value. They see Lucie as a cardboard creation, and her prettiness and family devotion as general traits, fitting Dickens’ notions of the

ideal woman. Readers fascinated with Dickens’ life have traced Lucie’s origins to Ellen Ternan, the 18-year-old actress Dickens was infatuated with while writing A Tale. Ellen was blonde, and she shared Lucie’s habit of worriedly knitting her brows. Of course, the artist who draws on real life nearly always transforms it into something else, something original. Finally, consider viewing Lucie allegorically–as a character acting on a level beyond the actual events of the story. Dickens frequently mentions Lucie’s golden hair. The theme of light versus dark is one that runs all through A Tale, and Lucie’s fair hair seems to ally her with the forces of light. The force of dark seems to come from Lucie’s opposite in most respects, the brunette Madame Defarge. -SYDNEY

CARTON Sydney Carton dies on the guillotine to spare Charles Darnay. How you interpret Carton’s sacrifice–positively or negatively–will affect your judgment of his character, and of Dickens’ entire work. Some readers take the positive view that Carton’s act is a triumph of individual love over the mob hatred of the Revolution. Carton and the seamstress he comforts meet their deaths with great dignity. In fulfilling his old promise to Lucie, Carton attains peace; those watching see “the peacefullest man’s face ever beheld” at the guillotine. In a prophetic vision, the former “jackal” glimpses a better world rising out of the ashes of revolution, and long life for Lucie and her family–made possible by his sacrifice. This argument also links Carton’s death