Tale Of Two Cities Charictarization Essay Research — страница 2

  • Просмотров 231
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 22
    Кб

with Christian sacrifice and love. When Carton makes his decision to die, the New Testament verse beginning “I am the Resurrection and the Life” nearly becomes his theme song. The words are repeated a last time at the moment Carton dies. In what sense may we see Carton’s dying in Darnay’s place as Christ-like? It wipes away his sin, just as Christ’s death washed clean man’s accumulated sins. For readers who choose the negative view, Carton’s death seems an act of giving up. These readers point out that Stryver’s jackal has little to lose. Never useful or happy, Carton has already succumbed to the depression eating away at him. In the midst of a promising youth, Carton had “followed his father to the grave”–that is, he’s already dead in spirit. For such a

man, physical death would seem no sacrifice, but a welcome relief. Some readers even go so far as to claim that Carton’s happy vision of the future at the novel’s close is out of place with his overall gloominess. According to this interpretation, the bright prophecies of better times ahead are basically Dickens’ way of copping out, of pleasing his audience with a hopeful ending. If Sydney Carton’s motives seem complicated to you, try stepping back and viewing him as a man, rather than an influence on the story. He’s a complex, realistic character. We see him so clearly, working early morning hours on Stryver’s business, padding between table and punch bowl in his headdress of sopping towels, that we’re able to feel for him. Have you ever known someone who’s

thrown away his talent or potential, yet retains a spark of achievement, as well as people’s sympathy? That’s one way of looking at Sydney Carton. Dickens adds an extra dimension to Carton’s portrait by giving him a “double,” Charles Darnay. For some readers, Carton is the more memorable half of the Carton/Darnay pair. They argue that Dickens found it easier to create a sympathetic bad character than an interesting good one. Carton’s own feelings toward his look-alike waver between admiration and hostility. But see this for yourself, by noticing Carton’s rudeness to Darnay after the Old Bailey trial. When Darnay has gone, Carton studies his image in a mirror, realizing that the young Frenchman is everything he might have been–and therefore a worthy object of

hatred. It’s interesting that both Carton and Darnay can function in two cultures, English and French. Darnay, miserable in France, becomes a happy French teacher in England. In a kind of reversal, Carton, a lowly jackal in London, immortalizes himself in Paris. Carton and Darnay have one further similarity–the doubles may represent separate aspects of Dickens. If we see Darnay as Dickens’ light side, then Carton corresponds to an inner darkness. The unhappy lawyer is a man of prodigious intelligence gone to waste, a man who fears he’ll never find happiness. These concerns mirror Dickens’ own worries about the direction his career was taking in the late 1850s, and about his disintegrating marriage. It’s been suggested that Dickens, though a spectacularly successful

writer, had no set place in the rigid English class system. Regarded from this perspective, Dickens, like Carton, was a social outsider. -CHARLES DARNAY Charles Darnay has many functions: he holds a place in the story, in Dickens’ scheme of history, and in Dickens’ life. We can view him on the surface as A Tale of Two Cities’ romantic lead. We can also look for depth, starting at Darnay’s name. St. Evremonde is Darnay’s real name. He is French by birth, and English by preference, and emerges as a bicultural Everyman. He’s a common, decent person, caught in circumstances beyond his control. Darnay isn’t merely caught in the Revolution, he’s pulled by it, as if by a magnet. He’s at the mercy of fate. Besides fate, a leading theme, Darnay illustrates a second

concern of the novel: renunciation or sacrifice. He gives up his estate in France, substituting for his old privileges the very unaristocratic ideal of work. Darnay’s political liberalism and decision to earn his own living (tutoring young Englishmen in French language and literature) put him in conflict with his uncle, the Marquis St. Evremonde. If you’ve ever disagreed with a member of your own family, multiply your differences by ten and you’ll understand the relationship between Charles Darnay and his uncle. The two men live in different philosophical worlds. Young Darnay signals the new, progressive order (though you’ll see that he’s never tagged a revolutionary); the older Marquis sticks to the old, wicked ways. The resemblance between Darnay and Sydney Carton is