Essay Sample: Theme of Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Published: 2022-02-22
Essay Sample: Theme of Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2029 words
17 min read

The theme of resurrection overrides Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities.' The theme manifests itself both figuratively and literally. Resurrection refers to life after death, and it is one of the issues that humans fail to establish meaning. People fail to understand what happens when someone dies. There are various religions in the world, and each religion has its explanation of the meaning of death. It is therefore difficult to establish the truth. Since there is no absolute truth in the world (the truth) it is therefore imperative to align at least to religion to develop an understanding of death and resurrection. In Christianity, there is the prospect of hell and heaven. A person who does good deeds resurrects after death and proceeds to heaven while sinners move to hell after the resurrection. People are therefore expected to live a morally upright, ethical and responsible life. It is this concept that Charles Dickens brings out in his book where he attempts to display that people do everything possible to attain afterlife as dictated in the Christian religion. The objective of this paper is to show which characters are brought back to life and how. The article also aims to establish and explain situations where resurrection is impossible in the novel and real life. Unadulterated actions and purity lead to resurrection, and they are evident through symbols, motifs, and paradoxes.

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The meaning of resurrection in the novel is "rebirth." It is, however, not the actual birth. Resurrection in the novel is associated with rejuvenation. According to Rignall (576), Rebirth refers to new or second birth, and there are various instances where the characters are reborn. In this sense, resurrection or rebirth or reborn means having a second chance in life and the first character who is privileged to resurrect is Dr. Manette. Dr. Manette is a physician who had spent 18 years at Bastille Prison (Dickens 385). He was taken away from his pregnant wife for 18-year confinement. His 18 -year stay in prison deteriorated his health and mental condition. He cobbled shoes as a way of passing the time and he also forgot his name. Based on the meaning of resurrection, the doctor obtains freedom from the prison from the French government. He gets a chance for a new life. He was jailed for 18 years for threatening to expose corruption crimes of St. Evremonde brothers(Dickens 386). These individuals had power and robbed him his previous life through jailing him. When the author first introduces him, he is lacking memories of his past life and cannot reason (Rignall 580). Since he loved his 17-year-old daughter Lucie (whom he had never seen), and when he saw her, he manages to regain his memory. It is a form of resurrection. His daughter and a family friend, Mr. Lorry came to pick him, and they played an essential role in his resurrection. He manages to establish himself as a doctor in London after being recalled to life. However, he fully becomes sane after going back to his home after reuniting with his daughter. Before then, he was referring to himself as "One Hundred and Five, North Tower." In his insane state, he knew nothing except the prison life and on many occasions, he reverted to making shoes. He also found it hard to function appropriately in the real world. Her daughter, Lucie also loved him endlessly, and it is this love which greatly helped him to regain his sanity (resurrect). In chapter 7 of the third book (Dickens 411), he asserts that there is no shoemaking, no garret and no One Hundred and Five, North Tower. Dr.Mannete managed to accomplish himself and set himself free. He is a fully functional individual.

The theme of resurrection is also evident, Carton in the novel, "A Tale of Two Cities." He is an individual who possesses high self-regard and self-regard. However, he emerges as a person who is courageous and has a tremendous amount of devotion. On various occasions, Carton had lived a miserable life and depended on Darnay to survive. Carton deeply loves Lucie even after Lucie marries Darnay. Carton and Darnay look alike Carton vows to lay his life for the love of Lucie, or any person that Lucie loves (Dickens 415). Darnay is convicted for the second time in France. He fears that the French will stop at nothing bit kill him because of this the second time of his conviction in France. It is for this reason that Carton uses his influence over Barsad to switch positions with Darnay. Since Darnay and Carton look alike, it was not difficult for Basard to change them. When Carton is organizing the switch with Barsad, his inner convictions are evident. He feels that he had not managed to achieve his life goals. He saw this opportunity as a way of redeeming himself from his life's failures. It is for this reason that he does not back away from the inevitable death and he willing fully embraces the opportunity. He is contented with anything that makes Lucie happy. Rignall (577) asserts that the theme of resurrection is evident through Carton because he comes out as the 'messiah.' He gives up is life for the sake of saving another person. The opportunity gives Darnay a second chance in life, and he promises to do his best in this new life. Darnay and his family escape to England when Carton is being beheaded. The theme of resurrection is also evident when Carton envisions a child born of Darnay and Lucy who will be named Carton. In this regard, Carton resurrects through Lucie and Darnay when they give birth to a son whom they name Carton. In his death, Carton regards himself as a hero, rather than a drunken fool as he previously saw himself. When Darnay and Lucie name their child after him, he manages to give life meaning and purpose. Carton is a hero who can live or die with himself.

The theme of resurrection is also evident through Charles Darnay. According to Weinberg (172), he gets two chances to live again, and it is Carton who helps him in both instances. In the first instance, Sydney Carton saves him from prison. Sydney also saves him from death in the second instances. He, therefore, resurrects twice in the novel. In as much as Darnay is an influential and wealthy aristocrat, he chooses to live a low life. He even goes ahead and conceals his identity by not using his family name. He decides to live a modest life as much as possible. Marrying Lucy also supports the fact that he lived a decent life. At the beginning of the story, Charles Darnay undergoes a trial for treason in England. He was accused of being a spy even though he traveled back and forth between England and France while conducting trade. During his trial, the crowd was sure that he was guilty of the said allegations. The punishment for treason was death. The future seemed bleak for him during this trial but was saved by the ability of the court to establish his resemblance to Carton. The court, therefore, sets him free and prosecutes Carton in his place. Were it not for the existence of Carton, and the love that Carton had for Lucie, Darnay would not have managed to survive. The court failed to find Darnay guilty because of the existence of Carton. Later on, Darnay is imprisoned or sentenced to death in France because of his father and uncles' old deeds. Attempts to save him do not bear fruits. It is because of Carton that Daynay manages to stay free after trading positions. In this respect, Darnay is given a second chance to live and he 'resurrects' as a result.

On the same note, Lucie plays an essential role in all the resurrections which are evident in the novel. The author portrays him as a loving and caring individual who helps other people. For instance, she is responsible for the resurrection of the two main characters, Carton and Dr. Manette. The author displays her as a compassionate and benevolent character who supports Carton, Daynay and Dr. Manette to resurrect. Lucie is full of innocence and purity. Dickens narrates that her golden hair portrays the virtue of her integrity and her ability to help others. She is among the purest characters in the novel. It is through the golden actions that make her be "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 80). She manages to guide her father out of his situation because of her love for him. She supports him resurrect. She also assists Sydney Carton during the period when he was stressed with his career and life and. Also, she manages to raise a family with Darnay who also sees her as a perfect confidant. She is an individual who takes care of her sick father, Dr. Manette to recover back to mental and physical health. She also manages to resurrect Sydney Carton, an alcoholic suitor to spiritual rebirth and also regain contact with his inner self. She comes out as a character who manages to create a new family and a new country as a mother and a wife. Lucie is unselfish and very positive, a character that supports her willingness to help others. Lucie does not also look down upon others and sees the best in people. For instance, she helps Sydney who was a drunkard. Despite all the adversities and the negativities that surrounds her, and her loved ones, she does not give up and help her father, Darnay and Carton to 'resurrect.' She is an angelic character who is central to resurrection in "A Tale of Two Cities."

In 'A Tale of Two Cities,' the author stresses his belief in the possibility of transformation and resurrection at the societal and personal levels (Rulo, 20). The death of Carton signifies a new life for another people. These are Darnay, Lucie, and Carton himself. When Carton delivers himself to the guillotine, he manages to ascend to the plane of heroism. The author displays him like a Christ-like creature who saves other people's lives. Towards the end of the novel, the author suggests that just like Jesus Christ, Carton will be resurrected. His resurrection is not literal but figurative because he resurrects in people's minds. He is reborn in people's hearts and those whom he died to save.

Charles Dickens also implies the death of an old regime in France which resurrected a new regime. The end of the old regime prepared the people for a peaceful and beautiful Paris where people could conduct their activities without fear of revolutions and war. It is this kind of Paris that Carton envisioned when he was beheaded at the guillotine.

In conclusion, he novel also calls to attention and warns the British regime of the mid-nineteenth society. The author also enlightens the extraordinary violence which people experienced during the French revolution at the expense of the government attempting to overthrow an administration by employing violent means, which facilitated its collapse. He manages to tell people that attempts to use violence to overthrow a government bear no fruit and in a way, he attempts to advocate for diplomacy. In as much as the novel attempts to dedicate much time to explain how the outraged peasants and the aristocracy committed the atrocities to express the belief that the violence will help establish a new society. The establishment of modern society shows rebirth, resurrection or reborn.

Work Cited

Dickens, Charles. A tale of two cities. No. 102. Bantam Classics, 1989.LIU, Ding-yuan, and Xiao-hua HOU. "Resurrection in A Tale of Two Cities." Canadian Social Science 1.1 (2009): 90-93.

Rignall, J. M. "Dickens and the Catastrophic Continuum of History in A Tale of Two Cities." ELH 51.3 (1984): 575-587.

Rulo, Kevin. "A Tale of Two Mimeses: Dickens's 'A Tale of Two Cities' and Rene Girard." Christianity & Literature, vol. 59, no. 1, Sept. 2009, pp. 5-25.

Weinberg, Jo-Anne. "Readings on A Tale of Two Cities." Sc...

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