Moral and Immoral Conversions in A Tale of Two Cities
A conversion in the Webster's Dictionary is described as a change from one belief to another. In the novel A Tale of Two Cities, the acclaimed author Charles Dickens uses his great imaginative power to create a superior artwork in literary terms. A Tale of Two Cities is an in-depth story about the lives of people in the two countries of France and England during the French Revolution. Through the process of the novel many of the characters go through changes. The most drastic of these changes are moral or immoral conversions which empower the characters to become greater or lesser of human beings. The three characters who take moral or immoral conversion to the greatest extent are Sydney Carton , Dr. Manette, and Madame Defarge.
The character who goes through moral conversion to the greatest extent is Sydney Carton. Sydney is a frustrated alcoholic who does not really seem to care too much about life, because life for him has not been too good. His moral conversion begins the first time his eyes see Lucie Manette, the beautiful young daughter of Dr. Alexander Manette. This occurs during the first trial of Charles
Darney. Barbara Hardy describes this first trial and how Carton comes about saving Charles in her essay "The Change of Heart in Dicken's Novels." She writes
It is significant that when Sydney Carton first sees Darnay, he performs a good act, using the striking resemblance to break down the witness who is identifying Darnay, and saving his double for the first time(43).
To the reader Sydney is presented as a man who places alcohol as his first priority. But now that he has met Lucie, he begins to set his priorities straight and he pyts Lucie in front of everything else. As his love gets stronger for Lucie he begins to change. For example, he drinks less and finds more meaning to life. Befor he had met lucie he didn't really care for anything in general, but now he really has found something to live for. Then when Sydney finds out that Lucie and Charles Darney are to be married he is a little surprised because even though he was expecting it to happen, when it did happen he was a little stunned. At this point Sydney Carton takes another conversion but this one is back to his old self. As the story progresses Charles returns to France to save a friend. While he is there he gets caught and is sent to La Force. Sydney hears of this arrest and begins to contemplate whether or not he should give up his life for Charles. Then Carton has his moment of epiphany. He has this moment like Jesus did the night before he was crucified, in the garden. This moment of deep thought allows him to really
understand the true love Charles and Lucie share. So he decides to give up his life so that Charles and Lucie can live their life in love and happiness. Sydney plans to switch places with Charles in La Force so that he may face the guillotine instead of Charles Darney. ...