What do you think Dickens is saying about death and resurrection in Carton's final vision of the future?Is it believable that Carton would have this vision at such a moment? A Tale of Two Cities by...

What do you think Dickens is saying about death and resurrection in Carton's final vision of the future?

Is it believable that Carton would have this vision at such a moment?

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Asked on by james101

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton has an idealized, romantic love for Lucie Manette.  Since he cannot marry her as she loves Charles Darnay and marries him, Carton settles for a platonic relationship with Lucie; he pledges his loyalty and love to her, promising to do anything for her if she needs him.

Having lived a dissolute life, Carton has allowed Stryver to use him and take credit for his genius in solving cases.  When he sees his double Charles Darnay, Carton becomes aware of the opportunities that he has wasted in his dissipated life.  So, in Book the Third, when Carton learns that Darnay has been imprisoned for the injustices of his father and his family, the Evremondes, he decides to sacrifice what he perceives as his miserable life for the worthy life of Darnay whom Lucie loves dearly.  In keeping his pledge to Lucie, Carton finds worth to his life:

"It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, that I have ever known."

In contemplating his sacrifice for his double, Charles Darnay, Carton knows that Lucie will be eternally grateful.  For this reason--and justifiably so--that Lucie will honor his name by giving it to her child. In this way, Carton feels that he will attain some value as this child grows and, with the noble characteristics of his parents, he will bring respectability to Carton's name. Thus, by dying Carton will live. 

Remembering the verse from his boyhood, Carton recites the words of Jesus: 

Iam the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.

By dying, Carton is resurrected through his love and sacrifice.  He will live through Lucie's child who will bear his name and become a worthy man.  Sydney Carton dies knowing that his name and memory will resurrect him as a much worthier man.

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