Character Foils In Charles Dickens A Tale Of Two Cities

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Gilman � PAGE �1�

Claire Gilman

December 15, 2009

English 12 CP

AN ABUNDANCE OF FOILS

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times […] we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going directly the other way" (Dickens 7). Charles Dickens "[influenced] the development of the serial novel" and created many classics (Pool 389). Only Shakespeare used the same writing techniques as Dickens (Engel). The novel "A Tale of Two Cities" is a grand example of character foils and doubling within one of Dickens ' novels. The use of England, France, and the characters makes the novel better because they add to the intensity of the plot "between the two eternally paradoxical poles of life and death" (Charles Dickens 421).

As part of the
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Darnay and Carton find out early on in the novel that they look very similar. In fact, they look almost exactly alike, just like twins. This likeness helps Darnay to get out of an execution since they couldn 't prove him to be the culprit if another looked exactly like him. Darnay is an exceptionally confident person. He shows this confidence throughout the novel. When Darnay asks for Lucies hand in marriage without any hesitation he reveals just how confident he is. His confidence is also shown when he goes to London without once thinking that he wont make it back home. The thought of dying should have crossed his mind since he knows all of the people of France and even some in England are out to kill him. The reason they want to kill him is he is the next in line to be Marques. Completely opposite of Darnay, Carton has no self-confidence. He thinks he is worthless and has wasted his life, so he gets intoxicated everyday and drinks at all times. When Carton decides he is in love with Lucie he has to ask others if it 's a good plan and then doesn 't even tell her how he feels under the belief that he doesn 't deserve her and that she deserves better than him. Throughout the novel Lucie takes pity on Carton seeing how fragile he is and that he wants to make something of himself and that he just doesn 't know how. In the end Carton sacrifices himself for Darnay. The action of taking Darnay 's place in the prison execution line raises Carton above Darnay and all others. Carton feels that after this sacrifice his life will have meaning and so he may die happy knowing that down the line people will remember him. " 'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known '" (Dickens 380). Before he is hanged Carton even imagines that Darnay and Lucie name a child after him. And so Darnay and carton

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