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Charles Dicken’s A Tale Of Two Cities

2406 words - 10 pages

Orison Swett Marden, an author known for his works in philosophy once wrote, “You will be modified, shaped, molded by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact”. Using these words, Marden summarizes what factors influence humans and shape how they turn out. A similar scenario appears in Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities, where two characters are initially driven by their love for different people, but soon turn into complete opposites. Madame DeFarge, fueled by love, turns evil, while Sydney Carton, a lazy alcoholic, takes charge of his life after being motivated by love. The factor that separates their paths is their surroundings: Madame DeFarge lives in France, while Sydney Carton resides in England. Although their stories both begin with love, Madame DeFarge and Sydney Carton develop in opposite ways due to differences in their surroundings ;ultimately suggesting that Dickens argues for England’s superiority over France because of how Carton’s surroundings improve him, while Mme. Defarge’s surroundings encourage her brutality.
Love is initially a big motivator for both Madame Defarge and Mr. Carton’s actions because of its impact on their lives, however, their surroundings and the revolution are prominent in defining them. Around the end of the book, Madame Defarge reveals that her family had been mistreated by the Evrémonde brothers because they killed her sister and her little brother (3.12.351-352). Madame DeFarge finishes her sentence by saying, “tell the Wind and Fire to stop, but don’t tell me” (3.12.352). She is angry at the Evrémonde brothers because the family that she loved so much was killed by them, but at the end of her sentence, her tone indicates an emotion more extreme than anger. She vows to uphold the curse her brother had given to the marquis as he died (3.10.337) as she says, “The Evrémonde people are to be exterminated, and the wife and the child must follow the husband and the father. It was nothing to her, that an innocent man was to die for the sins of his forefathers; she saw, not him, but them…” (3.14.370). Her anger is triggered by her love, but her desire to see Darnay and every other descendant of the Evrémonde family dead is not triggered by love because it is uncommon for even traumatized people to behave like that. Throughout the book, people like Dr. Manette and Mr. Carton also experience injustice and depression, but they do not turn so evil and murder anyone. Madame Defarge’s desire to kill is fueled by the revolution and the constant killing of people she sees around her. She is determined to see the Evrémonde family dead because her own family suffered at their hands. However, she cannot accomplish this in a time when nobles have all the power and when she can be punished severely for rebelling. Being a leader of the French revolution, however, allows her to have many angry peasants at her command and gives her power over all nobility because of...

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