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A Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens

1110 words - 4 pages

The French Revolution began in 1789, inspired by the American Revolution, which ended a mere 6 years before the French Revolution began. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is set during the French Revolution for about half of the novel. Dickens focuses on a theme involving sacrifices made by certain characters right before the French Revolution and during the Revolution using many examples to develop the theme. He developed the theme of sacrifice for others in the name of something or someone throughout the book through the sacrifices of Manette’s sanity for Lucie Manette to marry Charles Darnay, Darnay’s freedom in order to go back to France to help Gabelle out of prison, and Sydney Carton giving up his life for Darnay to live.
Near the beginning of the novel, Dr. Alexandre Manette sacrifices his sanity so that Lucie Manette can marry Charles Darnay. Dickens describes Manette’s thoughts about the proclaimed marriage at first by writing, ““A struggle was evidently in his face; a struggle with that occasional look which had a tendency in it to dark doubt and dread.” (Dickens 103). Manette is struggling to decide whether or not he should let his beloved daughter marry Darnay because he is unsure about his mental stability; Manette does not know if he will relapse back into his unhealthy mental state from imprisonment. He is doubtful that he will stay sane and that he will not go back to shoe making. Although, Manette is also doubtful about Darnay’s history. Finally, Manette tells Darnay, “You speak so feelingly and so manfully Charles Darnay, that I thank you with all my heart, and will open all my heart, or nearly so.” (103). These words explain that because of Darnay’s honesty about his feelings and his obvious love towards Lucie, Dr. Manette will let him marry Lucie. However, he only says he will open his heart “nearly so”(103), which means that he is still unsure about letting his daughter leave him to be with Darnay. Then, the dreaded thought comes to life when Miss Pross runs out of Dr. Manette’s room yelling, “’O me, O me!,’ cried she, wringing her hands. ‘What is to be told to Ladybird? He doesn’t know me and is making shoes.” (150). She found Manette making shoes again, showing his insanity has returned. Also, he did not recognize Miss Pross, who is a long time servant of the Manettes, so he has obviously relapsed. She is worried about telling Lucie, because she does not want to ruin Lucie’s recent marriage with this horrible news. Although, Dr. Manette’s sanity returns nine days later, which made the sacrifice for his beloved daughter worth it.
After the marriage, in the middle of the novel, Charles Darnay sacrifices his freedom to travel back into France to free an old, loyal servant named Gabelle. Gabelle sends Darnay a letter explaining his recent imprisonment. The opening line of the letter states, “After having long been in danger of my life at the hands of the village, I have been seized, with great violence and indignity,...

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