Vital and Dynamic Characters in a Tale of Two Cities

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  • Topic: A Tale of Two Cities, A Tale of Two Cities characters, Alexandre Manette
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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Vital and Dynamic Characters in A Tale of Two Cities

A dynamic character is one who changes greatly during the course of a novel. There are many fine examples of dynamic characters in all Dickens novels. Three of these characters are Dr. Alexandre Manette, Jerry Cruncher and Sydney Carton. Dynamic characters play a very apparent role in the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Dr. Manette starts his life as a young successful man but then is traumatized by imprisonment and again becomes successful with the comfort of, his daughter, Lucie. Lorry rescues Dr. Manette from his prison in St. Antoine and essentially brings him back to life. At first Alexandre seems unstable and much older than his years, but as Lucie nurses him back to life he transforms into the vibrant man missing throughout hers. Doctor Manette has no recollection of his successful past: "Doctor Manette, formerly of Beauvais . . . the young physician, originally an expert surgeon, who within the last year or two has made a rising reputation in Paris" (298). After his unnecessary imprisonment he is very weak and frail: "[h]e had put up a hand between his eyes and the light, and the very bones of it seemed transparent" (36). He is found in a dark garret hunched over a cobbler's bench making shoes to pass time. At first Lucie is apprehensive about approaching her father, but as she observes his actions she is overcome with joy; she has now found her father whom she thought was dead for seventeen years. As he spends more time with Lucie and Miss Pross he gradually gains more and more strength and is beginning to reach his capacities in life. "This new life of the Doctor's [is] an anxious life, no doubt; still the sagacious Mr. Lorry [sees] that there was a new sustaining pride in it" (253). The changes in Dr. Manette are not all by his own doing. He started life prosperous and fortunate, and after an ill-fated imprisonment it takes him a long while to accomplish the...
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