Is there a character in A Tale of Two Cities who is a caricature?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the characters in A Tale of Two Cities that might be considered a caricature is Stryver, who is a caricature of lawyers and the legal system.  Stryver is the lawyer who leeches off Sydney Carton.  Carton has a brilliant legal mind, but he is full of self-loathing.  This leads him to care little for fame or recognition.  Lorry takes advantage of this, and takes credit for Carton’s work.  For example, Stryver takes credit for Carton’s brilliant maneuver to point out that he and Darnay look alike and the witness could not positively identify Darnay.

 Stryver is described as indelicate and pushy in book 2, chapter 4:

“free from any drawback of delicacy, had a pushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically) into companies and conversations, that argued well for his shouldering his way up in life.”

 Dickens constantly targeted the courts and lawyers in most of his works.  He considered the legal system inadequate and encumbered.  He also considered many lawyers to be leeches.  In portraying Stryver in such a negative light, Dickens satirizes that legal system as a whole.  As with Styver, Dickens considered it lacking in moral integrity.


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A Tale of Two Cities

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