Love and Hate in A Tale of Two Cities
Many have grown fond of the tale involving the noble, former French aristocrat, who had virtually unmatched (except maybe in books) good fortune. First, his life was saved by the pitiful testimony of a beautiful young woman. Anyone would gladly have married this beautiful too-good-to-be-true-woman he wedded. It is later seen, however, that this man should have married her even if she were ugly as sin. This was not the case though, and he married a beautiful woman, who had an admirer who was a dead ringer for her husband, was a loser, and would give his life to keep her from pain, all of which really comes in handy when her hubby is on his way to the guillotine. This is not the story of a man with multiple guardian angels, but rather that of a character in Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities. A skeptic could easily see this as an unbelievable, idealistic and overrated novel that is too far-fetched. An unbiased reader, however, can see that this is a story of love and hate, each making up the bare-bones of the novel so that one must look closely to see Dickens' biases, attempts at persuasion, and unbelievable plot-lines, some of which are spawned from Dickens' love and hate, and some of which love and hate are used to develop.
The more lifeless of the characters we are supposed to like--the Manettes, Darnay, Lorry-- play their parts in the idyllic fashion Dickens and like-minded readers want, a fashion made inflexible by circumstances and purposes. "Circumstances and purposes" refers in large part to Dickens' state of mind and objective. Dickens' intrusive, unusually editorial point of view, with references to "I" and deviations from narration for monologue, reveals the novel's slavery to the teachings of his morals--or perhaps his own slavery to the morals of his time and Protestantism. Therefore, can Lucie be any different from the supportive, wholly feminine wife and mother she is? Not if Dickens' is to stick...
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