Two people who seem like opposites can be more alike than people think. In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay display many differences even though they have similar intentions. An apathetic alcoholic who works with Mr Stryver as a lawyer, Sydney Carton describes his life as a complete waste and claims that he doesn’t care for anything.
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But behind the facade that Carton uses, he actually does all the work for every case in court and he eventually transforms into a man of merit. On the other hand, born into a wealthy and notorious French family, Charles chose to live in England because he could not tolerate the injustices in France. Others consider Charles as a man of great virtue and as a gentleman. Although Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay present themselves in different ways, both men commit sacrifices in order to help others, and both are resurrected in a way that benefitted themselves.
Sydney Carton presents himself as insolent and indifferent to others while Charles Darnay presents himself as a very polite and mannered individual. During the trial for Darnay’s life, Sydney Carton slumps on his chair as if he does not care: this one man sat leaning back, with his torn gown half off him, his untidy wig put on just as it had happened to light on his head after removal, his hands in his pockets, and his eyes on the ceiling as they had been all day(Dickens 77). Even in times of great importance and formality like Darnay’s trial, Sydney still behaves indifferent. By the way Carton presents himself during the hearing he does not show any intention to save Charles. Sydney Carton acts as if he would not want to work and would rather be somewhere else. After Charles Darnay’s acquittal he shows thankfulness to Lucie and Stryver for helping him since he was acquitted: Mr. Darnay had kissed her hand fervently and gratefully, and had turned to Stryver, whom he warmly thanked(83). Oppositely of Sydney, Charles shows his mannerism to others in any situation. Darnay behaves as a gentleman-like figure because he goes out of his way to thank and even tell them that he owes his life to them. Charles shows that he has proper behavior which leaves a good impression of him. Darnay and Carton show their many differences in their actions with how they interact with others
Despite the different ways Carton and Charles display themselves, they both show selflessness to where they would abandon their own livelihoods because they know that they should do the right thing. When Charles argues with the Marquis on whether his family has been doing wrong, Charles renounces his title giving up incredible wealth and explains why: To the eye it is fair enough, here; but seen in its integrity, under the sky, and by daylight, it is a crumbling tower of waste, mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger, nakedness, and suffering(126). Giving up unimaginable wealth and status to do good for others is an important sacrifice that Charles made. Charles cares more about his honor and being righteous rather than living a luxurious life. He is very empathetic because he does what is right to help others. After Charles was sentenced to be executed Little Lucie begs Carton to help Charles, Carton then whisperers something into Lucie’s ear knowing that he is going to die for the Manettes: A life you love(334). Sydney Carton is going to sacrifice his life for Lucie because he loves her. Giving up one’s life for another person is the greatest act of love that anyone can do for someone. Sydney so selfless that he would lose his life for someone he loves. Darnay and Carton both show altruism in their actions because they both offered up something for the better.
Charle Darnay was recalled to life in a way that he was given a second chance to live, and Sydney was recalled to life in a way that he was able to gain salvation. After Charle’s trial for his life he is congratulated by Jarvis Lorry, Stryver, Alexander Manette, and Lucie for being acquitted: Doctor Manette, Lucie Manette his daughter, Mr Lorry, the solicitor for the defense, and its counsel Mr. Stryver, stood gathered round Mr. Charles Darnay-just released-congratulating him on his escape from death(81). Since Charles Darnay was acquitted he is given a second chance to life. With this second chance Darnay gains confidence and is able come to terms with his family and the Marquis. Charles takes advantage of being recalled to life and gains benefits from it. When Sydney awaits his execution he thinks: ?It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest than I have ever known'(372). By taking the place in Darnay’s execution he is finally satisfied with himself. Sydney now gains purpose and salvation. Carton is recalled to life because he realizes he knows that he is going to do something good for the Manettes. Before Carton is executed he has a prophetic view of the future: “I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous, and happy”(372). Sydney’s resurrection turns him into a hero. He is going to die knowing that everyone he cared for will be happy. Sydney redeems himself and his life is restored. Being resurrected like Charles and Sydney can bring rewards and change you for the better.
Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay seem like polar opposites, but in actuality are alike. They were both made better people through sacrifice and resurrection. Sydney was able to change the way he looks at the world and Charles was able to redeem his family name by doing what is right for the people they care for. But both men had to make hard choices to become better people. Sometimes making the choice to sacrifice something that is really important can be a really difficult decision to make. But making sacrifices can help people that they love and resurrect people in a way that changes them for the better.
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