Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities
Resurrection is a powerful theme found throughout the plot of A
Tale of Two Cities. Many of the characters in the novel are involved with
the intertwining themes of love, redemption, and good versus evil. The
theme of resurrection involves certain aspects of all of these themes and
brings the story together.
Dr. Manette is the first person to experience resurrection in A
Tale of Two Cities. He is taken away from his pregnant wife and then
imprisoned for eighteen very long years. Over the years, his condition
deteriorates until he forgets his real name and mindlessly cobbles shoes to
pass the time. In "Book the First", he is released by the French
government and then put in the care of Monsieur Defarge. He is suddenly
"recalled to life"(19, 35). However, his rebirth has just begun and does
not become complete until he is reunited with his daughter; Lucy Manette.
In "Book the Second; The Golden Thread," the resurrection theme
appears several times. At the start of this book, Charles Darnay is on
trial for treason in England. He has been traveling back and forth between
France and England and is thought to be a spy. The people in the crowd are
sure that he will be found guilty, the punishment for this crime being
death. Darnay is saved by the ingeniousness of Sydney Carton, and he too
is suddenly resurrected or "recalled to life".
In both "Book the Second" and "Book the Third," the reader gets
different perspectives of the resurrection theme. Jerry Cruncher is a
body-snatcher and he refers to his late night activities as though it is an
honest trade. His son knows of his father's nocturnal activities and
expresses his desire to follow in his fathers footsteps: "Oh, Father, I
should so like to be a resurrection-man when I'm quite growed up!" (166).
This parodies the resurrection theme because it is a simple physical
resurrection of corpses from the graveyard with seemingly little meaning.
The reader later realizes the significance of the activities of the
resurrection-man in "Book the Third."
In the battle of good versus evil in A Tale of Two Cities, good
tends to resurrect or be resurrected, while the forces of evil mimic or
parody the resurrection theme. This is shown twice in the novel. Old
Foulon, the evil French aristocrat, fakes his own death so that he will not
be slaughtered by the revolution. He is found later, alive, and is
murdered anyway. This pattern of false death and false resurrection is
also followed by Roger Cly. He too is evil, faking his death and being
"reborn" as a spy again in a different country.
In "Book the Third," the resurrection theme plays a pivotal role in
the development of the plot. Miss Pross recognizes the spy...