Resurrection And Redemption In A Tale Of Two Cities
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In all great novels besides telling the normal story, the author tries to express something else. This something else would be known as the theme. The theme in Dickens A Tale of Two Cities would be Resurrection, or “recalled to life”. When receiving the message from Jerry Cruncher, Mr. Lorry gave him the note with a message “recalled to life” on it. At that current time one would be curious over what this note could mean, but soon the reader realized this message would display a motif that would follow in the book throughout the novel.
In the novel there are several people that would be resurrected. The first character that would be resurrected would be Dr. Manette. Dr. Manette had been imprisoned for 18 years. During this time Dr. Manette had gone through a transformation. This transformation brought his mind to forget about all the things that had been important to him, and to ease the pain he was going through. After meeting his daughter Lucie, Dr. Manette was resurrected from his imprisoned life, where he was locked up in the Bastille, and had a metamorphosis from being a cobbler back into his previous state as a respected doctor. This alteration in Dr. Manette’s personality happened several other times in the novel. When Lucie and Darnay went on their honeymoon after being married, Dr. Manette relapsed for the second time and began cobbling again. Mr. Lorry and Mrs. Pross kept this reversion secret from Lucie and later had to bury his cobbling tools so there would be no further chance to relapse.
The other person who was able to experience resurrection was Charles Darnay. Darnay first showed this when he was saved from being killed for treason during his first trial earlier in the novel. Darnay was then again resurrected when Dr. Manette saved him from his second trial in France for being of the EvrÃ©mond family. Then in his third and final trial the Defarges gained evidence through a letter, which written by Dr. Manette a long time ago, against Darnay that caused the jury to sentence Darnay to death by the guillotine. Even when convicted to death, Darnay was able to escape his execution.
In this instance, Carton was “recalled to life” when he sacrificed his own life for Darnay and his family. Though Darnay’s life was the one saved, the sacrifice was truly for Lucie. There is evidence of this in Chapter 13 when Carlton explains: It is useless to say it, I know, but it rises out of my soul. For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind and that there was any opportunity of capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and those dear to you.
The reader can clearly tell in this passage that Carton is beginning to go through a resurrection. Directly before Carton is killed he states to all, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In this line Darnay expresses Christ like qualities by sacrificing his life to save another’s.
An accompanying theme to the main one of Resurrection would be Redemption. Carlton dies to save Darnay, such as Christ for all of humanity. Carlton receives his own redemption through his sacrifice and then to his final transcendent vision of rebirth. This rebirth was hinted to the reader as Carlton meets a seamstress who Dickens gives characteristics as a person Carlton would eventually fall in love if they both were not to be killed. For a majority of the novel Carlton had been looking for a wife or someone to affectionately spend his life with. It is ironic that now that he could have possibly found this person both their lives on earth are ending. Finally, the sacrifice Carlton made was not as much for Darnay but for Lucie, and in doing so he can no longer wallow in despondency, but achieve redemption, and rebirth.
A Tale of Two Cities is a classic novel loved by all. Through vivid characters, Dickens is able give a reader a personal bond to certain characters in the novel. The theme of resurrection is one that can tie most characters in the novel together. Dr. Manette, Darnay, and Carlton were all resurrected in some way. Through resurrection, they were able to experience rebirth and able to be “recalled to life”. In the end, they were released from their state of Death and eventually from their own isolation.