Sydney Carton said he would die young because of a dissipated and wasted life. How was he both right and wrong?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Sydney Carton looked for personal fulfillment, frequently finding himself disconnected to his work and lack of social life. In the "die young" quote, he is both right and wrong. He does die young, but not for the mournful reasons of a wasted life.

Carton does waste his enormous potential, drowning it in drink, missing opportunities for personal growth; however, when confronted with the chance to act in a meaningful way with the chance and possibility of making a profound difference in the lives of the Manettes and Darnays, Sydney seizes the opportunity with conviction.  In this way, Carton is wrong about the reasons for his death. He willingly gives his life so that another man might live; that kind of sacrifice is never a waste.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial