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Doctor Manette

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1174
  • Category: Literacy

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Throughout A Tale of Two Cities Dickens illuminates Doctor Manette’s identity by effectively using a good variety of literary devices. For Doctor Manette’s character, Dickens specifically uses foreshadowing, similes, and symbolism to portray an accurate and deep personality to the reader.

Dickens uses foreshadowing in an abundance during the first and second books of A Tale of Two Cities in a successful manner to reveal Manette’s identity to the reader. “He had a white beard, raggedly cut, but not very long, a hollow face, and exceedingly bright eyes” (Dickens, 44). The important part of this quotation is the end, where a reference to the Doctor’s bright eyes is made after a few statements that really define how aged he looks. The “bright eyes” of Doctor Manette foreshadow that he can see brightness, or something positive to come, such as being united with his daughter Lucie. In another way, this could be ironic because of the approaching French Revolution involving mass violence and death. Another instance of foreshadowing is when Darnay wants to confess all to Manette to show him his honesty and his worthiness to be wedded to his daughter, but the doctor refuses to listen because he is afraid of what he will hear. “For an instant, the Doctor even had his two hands at his ears; for another instant, even had his two hands laid on Darnay’s lips. ‘Tell me when I ask you, not now. If your suit should prosper, if Lucie should love you, you shall tell me on your marriage morning.

Do you promise?'”(Dickens, 132). This quote indicates that Dr. Manette cares for the love that is shared between Lucie and Charles Darnay, however, Manette does not want to hear the potential grim truth of which Darnay wishes to inform him because of his fear of ruining their marriage by becoming upset over the new information. This foreshadows that what Darnay wants to reveal is most likely negative as well as presenting to the reader Manette’s caring nature. In addition, Dr. Manette’s personality is further revealed when first introduced to Charles Darnay. “His face had become frozen, as if it were, in a very curious look at Darnay: an intent look, deepening into a frown of dislike and distrust, not even unmixed with fear” (Dickens, 81-82). This quotation gives an example of how Dr. Manette initially feels towards Darnay upon meeting him, and it foreshadows that he can detect that something about Darnay is not quite right. Later on in the novel, this suspicion is revealed to be valid when Darnay tells Manette that his last name is not Darnay, it is EvĂ©rmonde, the noble name that had Manette imprisoned for the dreadful 18 years. From the points above, it can be seen that foreshadowing plays an important role in developing Dr. Manette’s identity.

One literary device that can be seen frequently throughout the novel is the use of similes to relate Doctor Manette to other things to affectively show his personality. An example of this is when he meets his daughter, Lucie, for the first time in the Defarges’ home after she is brought there by Jarvis Lorry. “She held him closer round the neck, and rocked him on her breast like a child”(Dickens, 49). In this quote, Dr. Manette is depicted resting on Lucie in a child-like manner, showing his growing affection towards the girl he is realizing is his long lost daughter— the type of affection a child would give his mother. Secondly, Doctor Manette is dedicated to his trade, shoemaking. His time in the Bastille is more than enough to engrave the activity into his life. “The Doctor looked at him for a moment—half inquiringly, half as if he were angry at being spoken to—and bent over his work again” (Dickens 185). This quote shows how Manette would prefer to work on his hobby over being confronted by Mr. Lorry. This is shown by relating the Doctor to the emotion anger, which is not often done throughout the whole novel. His reluctance to leave his work is what makes him dedicated to shoemaking. Doctor Manette’s personality is further revealed through the use of similes throughout A Tale of Two Cities.

A literary device that is used to portray Doctor Manette’s character in depth is symbolism, which Dickens uses to provide the reader with subtleties that hint at character traits. It can be observed that Dr. Manette experiences episodes of gloom and despair frequently, and this is caused by his time spent in the Bastille. “While one external cause, and that a reference to his long lingering agony, would always—as on the trial—evoke this condition from the depths of his soul, it was also in its nature to arise of itself, and to draw a gloom over him, as incomprehensible to those unacquainted with his story as if they had seen the shadow of the actual Bastille thrown upon him by a summer sun, when the substance was three hundred miles away” (Dickens, 80). This quotation shows that the Bastille is a symbol of depression to Doctor Manette when it says “to draw a gloom over him”; and it is blocking out the positive aspects in his life which is obvious when it says “the shadow of the actual Bastille thrown upon him by a summer sun”. This reveals Manette’s character, which has been scarred by the dark building for eternity. Another important symbol that shows Doctor Manette’s personality is the strand of hair belonging to his deceased wife that he kept with him the eighteen years he spent in prison.

“She was 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” (Dickens, 81). This quote demonstrates how important it is to keep the strand of hair (also called the golden thread) with him while he is imprisoned, because it ultimately keeps him sane and makes him constantly realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The “golden thread”, originally from Manette’s wife, is connected to Lucie 18 years later. This is illustrated when it says “to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery”, his “misery” is in between the time he did not have his wife or Lucie while he is in the Bastille. The past beyond his misery represents his wife and the present beyond his misery represents Lucie. These are examples of symbolism that reveal a great deal of Manette’s personality—his affection towards family and people that care for him.

In conclusion, Dickens’ use of literary devices is both effective and necessary for portraying characters to the reader by making him or her see their identity in the way the author intended. This is done well with the use of foreshadowing, similes, and symbolism in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

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