Carton And Defarge Compaing And Contrasting Essay

Carton And Defarge- Compaing And Contrasting Essay, Research Paper

In the 16th century Charles Dickens wrote the unforgettable novel A Tale of Two

Cities. In it he created two of the most remarkable fictional characters of all

time. One is the bloodthirsty Madame Defarge, and the other is the selfless

Sydney Carton. Madame Defarge is a peasant who seeks revenge on all aristocrats

who cross her path. In contrast, Sydney Carton is a man who is willing to do

anything for the love of his life. While the actions of these two characters

clearly delineate their differences, the underlying forces that drive each

character are quite similar.

>From Madame Defarge’s actions, it is clear that she is the evil antagonist in

the novel. Even in the manner that she is physically described, she is presented

as “dark” and therefore she is seen as evil. She is as evil as she is because

when she was younger the D’Evremonde brothers killed her whole family. Now the

purpose of her life is to procure revenge on the D’Evremonde family and every

other aristocrat. Even when told by her beloved husband she has gone to far, she

does not stop. Instead her repartee to him was, “Tell the wind and fire where to

stop; not me”. In it she evidently expresses how she will never forget what was

done to her family and how the D’Evermondes are deserving of what they will

receive. The actions she performs in her daily life demonstrate her evilness. In

the novel it seems as though she is the “bad guy” who is starting up all the

trouble. It is her need for revenge, in the book, that starts the revolution.

While Dickens presents Sydney Carton as a worthless drunk, in contrast to Madame

Defarge, he is the Christ-like noble figure of the novel. He appears to the

readers of A Tale of Two Cities as a worthless drunk and a man who has not

acquired any high social position in his life. Also, it seems as though his life

has resulted to nothing. At one point he says, “I care for no man on earth, and

no man on earth cares for me”, but that changes when he meets Lucie Manette. He

develops an undying juvenile-like love for her. Sydney is willing to do anything

for her and tells her so in a beautiful speech he made to her. In it he states,

“Think now and then that there is a man who would give up his life, to keep a

life you love beside you”. Although she does not marry him, he continues to love

her until the day he dies. While anticipating if he should give up his life for

her love Charles, he demonstrates his selflessness by saying, “Let the Doctor

play the winning game; I will play the losing one.” What Sydney is losing is his

life and that is in order for Doctor Manette to remain with his son in law and

for Lucie, her husband. Both men love Lucie and they know she will not be the

same without her husband, so Sydney offers his life to keep a life Lucie loves

beside her.

While the actions of these two characters symbolize good versus evil, the

driving forces that drive both Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton ironically are

very similar. Both Defarge and Carton live their lives passionately. Madame

Defarge passionately devotes her live to seeking revenge. She constantly knits a

list of those she wishes dead in order to fulfill that wish. She even attempts

to ruin the lives of people not on her list in order to ruin the lives of those

on her list. Sydney Carton is so passionately in love with Lucie Manette and not

willing to give up. He states, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, that I

have ever done; it is a Far, far better rest than I have ever known”. He is

speaking of how is life has resulted to nothing so what he will now do it better

than anything he has ever done before. Also, everything he does his for his

love, who he loves so passionately. Along with that, in his speech in which he

confesses his love for her, he speaks of how his love will continue till the day

he dies. He says, “In the hour of my death…that my last avowal of myself was

made to you”. In addition, both are very strong characters. The stand up for

what they believe in and will not give up. An example is Sydney Carton when

Lucie marries Charles Darnay. He does not end his love for her, instead, it

continues on until the day he dies. An example of Madame Defarge’s strength is

when she continues to search for another way to get Charles killed after he is

released from prison and she is successful due to that strength. A third

similarity is that both characters are exceedingly determined and have the

patience needed to reach their goals.

The contrast between Sydney Carton and Madame Defarge serves to develop a

reoccurring theme in the novel, man’s persistency to achieve his goal. Although

Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton seem to be such opposites, their underlying

forces are basically the same. With Defarge being so evil and Carton so good, it

is quite odd to think that they are similarly passionate, strong, and determined

to reach their goals. In reading A Tale of Two Cities one would think that there

is nothing alike between Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton, however, they both

carry out their lives with the same dedication and consecration in order to

fulfill their very different lifestyles.


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