In A Tale of Two Cities, how does Dickens pair the identities of Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton?Book the Second, Chapters 1-6  

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In Book the Second of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay has been indicted on a charge of being "a false traitor" to the King of England by speaking treasonous words while he made the passage on the Dover stagecoach.  During this trial, the testimony and circumstances are certainly not in his favor; that is, until a witness Roger Cly's recognition of Darnay as the true suspect is invalidated by the strange resemblance between Darnay and the barrister Sydney Carton. The prosecutor, Mr. C. J. Stryver asks Cly,

“Look well upon that gentleman, my learned friend there,” pointing to him [Carton] who had tossed the paper over, “and then look well upon the prisoner. How say you? Are they very like each other?”

Allowing for my learned friend’s appearance being careless and slovenly‚ if not debauched, they were sufficiently like each other to surprise, not only the witness, but everybody present.

After Charles Darnay is acquitted, he and Mr. Lorry step outside and stand on the pavement as Sydney Carton approaches them and speaks with Mr. Lorry.  Then, he turns to Darnay, remarking,

“This must be a strange night to you, standing alone here with your counterpart on these street-stones?”

Nevertheless, he invites Carton to dine with him. Darnay accepts; however, once they arrive at a covert tavern Carton borders on being rude as he asks Darney, "Do you think I particularly like you?" Disconcerted, Darnay reminds himself that Carton has saved him in court from condemnation and thanks the lawyer, telling him,"You might have used your talents better.”

Having finished his meal and regained his composure, Charles Darnay parts company from Sydney Carton, who subsequently stands before his own image in a glass by which he holds a candle to his face, saying aloud,

What a change you have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man, that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might have been!

At this point, while nearly identical in looks, these doubles, or doppelgangers, of Charles Dickens seem foils of the other.  Judging from the admiring looks of Miss Manette, Carton feels that he, too, could have earned such admiration, too, had he not "fallen away."  For, it is revealed in the next chapter that Carton is the jackal for Mr. Stryver, the lion, who reaps the benefits of Carton's acumen and, thus, attains success.  Darnay, on the other hand, has struck out on his own by leaving his aristocratic family and begun work in England as a tutor.

Finally, in Chapter 6 of Book the Second, at the Manette home in Soho, which is nesteld into a corner, as a storm approaches Lucie makes note of her sensing that there will be many footsteps coming their way.  Darnay quetions her about these many people, but Carton, who hears the thunder, echoes her sentiment, saying that a crowd bears down upon them that he can envision with the lightning:

 “Here they come, fast, fierce, and furious!”

These feelings of Lucie and Sydney Carton, who is more perspicacious than Darnay, presage the events that later occur in Book the Third.


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A Tale of Two Cities

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