A Theme Of Resurrection In A Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens integrated deep symbolism and complex themes as an important part of the book. A very integral and recognizable theme is one of resurrection. Many characters and situations allude to a rising and beginning of a new life. The most notable characters are Doctor Manette and Sydney Carton.

The most easily recognizable use of resurrection is with Doctor Manette and him being freed from prison. Manette had spent eighteen years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. Dickens dwells on the psychological trauma that Manette has been through the moment we first met him: in the corner of Defarges’ wine shop cobbling shoes. The doctor is essentially a dead man walking when he came out of prison and doesn’t remember much about his daughter or even his name. However Manette begins to become a man again, healing and gathering his strength, both mentally and physically, with the support of Lucie, “the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always. ” Lucie and the people around him shape Manette into the person he is now, a strong-willed man who has gotten stronger from his time in prison who helps others in their struggles, namely when Darnay is arrested in France.

Sydney Carton is also represented by resurrection, though it may be a little more difficult to detect. In the middle of the book, Carton believes he cannot come back from his slump. He thinks he is useless, 'I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me. ” However towards the end he soon finds his purpose when he must help Darnay through any means possible, 'In short,' said Sydney, 'this is a desperate time, when desperate games are played for desperate stakes', and through his willingness to face death, he rises to something greater. By bringing himself up to the guillotine, Carton ascends to a Christ-like figure whose death saves the life of others. He realizes this at the end, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known. ” But at the very end, like Christ, Dickens alludes to the resurrection of Carton- Carton’s actions will be remembered in the hearts of those he died to save. At the guillotine, Carton also envisions a new beginning for France, the downfall of the old regime leaves space for peace and a renewed France to fill the void. Carton mostly spent his time throughout the book as a nameless and somewhat hopeless character, however his ultimate selfless act at the end shows that he could come back to do something bigger than himself.

Charles Dickens is known to use small details that allude to something bigger at the end, and the theme of resurrection is no exception. Characters like Manette coming out of prison to become a man again, and Carton coming out of his slum to do something bigger than himself and still be remembered are some of the main examples. Even the French Revolution marks the death of the old and the birth of the new for a better France.

10 October 2020
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