A comparative study of Sydney Carton in Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, and Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, requires the reader to analyze various aspects that the transforming effect love can have on a personality. As we study each character, it is relatively easy to see that no matter how painful love can be, it is usually to one's betterment to have experienced it. Love affects each person differently. Some become more introspective, searching to better themselves for the sake of themselves or another. Others do not recognize what they are lacking in their lives until they find love. In either event, it permanently redirects the course of one's life. Or causes one to end it in some cases. We see that all three characters learn to love themselves better, to love others anew and in the end, make the ultimate sacrifice for their love for another.
Both author's illustrate well, that a lack of love can have a profound effect on the behavior of a person. Whether a person has never experienced love by fortune or by design, the initial introduction of love into
the personality can be intense. Dickens introduces Sydney Carton to us immediately after a trial, speaking to his client. It is at this point that we get a glimpse of the character of Carton, "
who smelled of port wine, and did not appear to be quite sober
" (Dickens, 100). Carton is so disillusioned with his own life, that he can't even like his client [who looks like him], "Do you particularly like the man?' He muttered, at his own image; why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is nothing in you to like
" (Dickens 103). Romeo Montague is no less desultory, but youth is his excuse, while alcohol and lifelong disappointment are Carton's. Shakespeare has Friar Lawrence state [about Romeo's multiple infatuations], "Young men's love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes" (1.3.67-68). Having...
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