A Tale Of Two Cities: Sydney Carton Vs. Charles Darnay Essay, Research Paper
A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens, takes place during the French Revolution. The book centers on the heroic attempts of Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. Sydney Carton puts on the fa?ade of being insolent and indifferent, but his true nature is expressed in the book when he puts others first, defends Charles, and dies for the ones he loves. Charles Darnay is a once wealthy aristocrat whose attempts at heroism include going back to France, his financial sacrifice, and the noble way in which he was willing to face his death.
Sydney Carton is a true hero in the way that he puts others first. He shows this quality as he works for Stryver to save the wrongfully accused from death and when he goes back to France to try to help put a stop the bloodshed. Carton has a better perspective on the situation in France as opposed to Charles Darnay. Darnay also possesses worthy heroic qualities. However, the reader could interpret a misuse of them. Darnay?s return to France to save Gabelle and help save the peasants was very notable, but probably not the most intelligent act to make. The revolutionaries of France were known to try to trick aristocrats into coming back to murder them. Darnay could have been walking into his death.
Darnay?s financial sacrifice was also note-worthy, but once again not very intelligent. Darnay renounced his aristocracy and sacrificed the wealth that went along with it in favor of helping those in need. A reader might have thought it more appropriate when interpreting this book for Darnay to have owned up to his aristocratic name and attempted to change the government?s problems, despite the problems that it caused him. It is true that Darnay was tried numerous times for treason. He was, however, acquitted more than once with the help of Carton.
An example includes Darnay?s first trial where Carton forced the jury to realize that it was impossible to prove that Darnay was a passenger on the Dover Mail. He did this by calling to attention the intense similarities in appearance between himself and Darnay. This example brings out another one of Carton?s heroic qualities. Despite his outer attitude, Carton is a generally good-hearted character. It is later stated in the book by Carton to Darnay that Carton really does not like Darnay. With this fact known, the reader would realize that Carton must truly be heroic or else he would not have helped Darnay out at the trial.
Carton further helps Darnay and implies more of his heroism when he dies for him. Carton?s great love and respect for Lucie holds him to the promise he made to her when he said that he would die for anyone she loved. The sheer act of heroism possessed him to buy the elixir that would cause Darnay to pass out, to switch clothing, and take Darnay?s place in prison. Carton knew that if his plan was discovered, he would be just as dead as Darnay. However, Carton kept in mind his promise and carried it through. At this point in time, Darnay expressed a sense of heroism as well because he was prepared to face his death without fear. Darnay would have died a hero in the eyes of many.
Although Charles Darnay possesses many heroic qualities, it can be fairly stated that Sydney Carton is the true hero of the novel. Carton acts on his ideas knowing the correct perspective on the situations at hand, regardless of the consequences. Darnay?s sheltered life limits his knowledge of the true circumstances of France and prevents him from using his heroic qualities to an accurate extent. Darnay is a rather predictable character, while Carton turns to his true nature to ?save the day? more than once. Carton surpasses Darnay on heroism a hundredfold.