The Theme Of Redemption In A Tale Of Two Cities

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It seems strange that a man of such worthlessness and a country where cruelty and hypocrisy abound could later become benevolent and beautiful, but this is the case in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Set in the time leading up to and during the French Revolution, the novel follows the people and events surrounding the metaphorical resurrection of Dr. Alexander Manette, a man unlawfully imprisoned for nearly 18 years by a noble family that later comes into play in the story. Although the story of Dr. Manette is at the forefront of the story for the majority of the novel, the theme of redemption continues to spread throughout the book, specifically through the characters of Sydney Carton and the people of France, arguably some of the most …show more content…
Carton’s sacrifice, however, is at the forefront of the novel’s conclusion, as it is necessary for him to take on the role of the sacrificial lamb in order for the rest of the characters to escape with their lives. The futility of any attempt for all characters to escape France unscathed is highlighted at this point in the book, as a character who becomes integral to the conclusion of the story, John Barsad, states that escape from the Conciergerie, the building in which Darnay is held, is simply impossible (Dickens, p.309) and, in response to this, Carton decides that he will masquerade as Darnay and face execution in his stead, calling back to a promise he made to Lucie Manette, the daughter of Dr. Manette and the wife of Charles Darnay, to sacrifice anything he has, including his life, for her or anyone near and dear to her (Dickens, p.156). Carton’s sacrifice is vital to his character growth as well, as, in his initial appearances, he believes that his life holds little value, and even goes so far as to say that he loathes Darnay purely because he embodies what Carton’s life could have been like in the event that it was not wasted (Dickens, p.89). This belief, however, is rendered incorrect when it becomes evident that the most likely way to save Charles Darnay is through the sacrifice of another in his place, the act of which finally gives Carton some sort of meaning in life, as, without the life that he previously thought to be a waste, there would be no way to save Charles. Redemption is an integral part

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