In Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, what characters make sacrifices besides Carton with his ultimate sacrifice, and what are these others?  

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At least three other characters act sacrificially besides Carton. They are Mr. Lorry, Dr. Manette, and Charles Darnay. Mr. Lorry is the first character we meet who represents the theme of sacrifice. He enters in “Book the First--Recalled to Life, II. The Mail." Lorry is noted for the people he rescues. First, he rescued baby Lucie after her father Dr. Manette is imprisoned in France. Then he went to rescue Dr. Manette eighteen years later when Manette was released from prison. Finally, he notably assists and accompanies Carton (symbolic of a big empty box that may, in due time, hold the treasures of life) on his quest to redeem his life by taking Darnay's place in a French prison.

As he held out his hand for the shoe that had been taken from him, Mr. Lorry said, still looking steadfastly in his face:

"Monsieur Manette, do you remember nothing of me?"

Dr. Manette, though not of sound mind when we meet him in “Book the First--Recalled to Life, VI. The Shoemaker,” is chronologically the first in the story to give of himself sacrificially. In fact, his sacrifice leads to virtually all other things that come; his sacrifice is central to the whole story. While living in his native land of France with a wife and baby daughter, Manette chose to speak out against the atrocities of the nobility and aristocracy (i.e., ruling nobility), in particular against the Evremonde family. This sacrificial attempt at social accountability, social justice, and social reform led to eighteen years of imprisonment by order of the Evremondes.

Charles Darnay is perhaps the most interesting character who sacrifices as he is the sympathetic hero. On two occasions he sacrifices his own welfare and safety when he attempts to aid people his family had in the past injured. His sacrificial attempts to assist a woman hurt by his family lead to his imprisonment under the accusation of being a spy on English soil. His later even more dangerous and more sacrificial attempts to aid an Evremonde family servant result in his imprisonment in France and his sentence of execution. In another instance, he risks the potential loss of all his happiness (and Manette's) by confessing to Manette that, though he uses his mother's maiden name of Darnay, he is of the Evremonde family, a family and name he has renounced.    

"[Charles has] been here some days—three or four—I don't know how many—I can't collect my thoughts. An errand of generosity brought him here unknown to us; he was stopped at the barrier, and sent to prison."

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A Tale of Two Cities

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