Lucie Manette and Madame Defarge

Topics: A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, Charles Darnay Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: May 10, 2011
A tale of two cities
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens vividly portrays both the coalition of good and evil, and the choices people make despite their circumstances. Thus, the theme of freewill is prominent throughout the novel. Lucie Manette’s and Madame Defarge’s characters represent such a theme. Though they both suffer hardship during their childhood years, the choices they make will determine their purpose in life and the end result.

On the one hand, Lucie Manette is raised as an orphan and a ward of Tellson’s bank for almost eighteen years. Her father was thought to be dead from before she was born, and her mother died when she was very young. At seventeen, she receives the shocking news that her father is alive, however he is pivoting on the brink of insanity caused by eighteen years of unjust imprisonment. Although faced with severe hardships, she manages to make unconditional love her life’s purpose. In the beginning of the novel, her love helps her father recover from his state of illness. Furthermore, the thought of exacting revenge on those who put her father in prison for eighteen years never crossed her mind. Her kindness is so clearly perceptible that she easily inspires compassion in others. An example of this is in Charles Darnay’s trial, Dickens describes the crowd in the court room as having no pity and mentally hanging, beheading, and quartering Charles (Dickens 71). However, when the same flesh hungry spectators turn their eyes on Lucie, her “expression of an engrossing terror and compassion that saw nothing but the peril of the accused...” (Dickens 72) touched their hearts. Shortly after, her influence on troubled Sydney Carton, who lives in a state of indifference and who’s best friend is alcohol, transforms him into a better person. In his declaration, “O Miss Manette, when the little picture of a happy father’s face looks up in yours, when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now...
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