What is a lesson in A Tale of Two Cities and through what characters does Dickens illustrate this lesson?  

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anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to say the most powerful lesson is that of love providing redemption. Sydney Carton is a brilliant man whose alcoholism and crude manners earn him no respect or friendship. Sydney's assistance in the treason trial of Charles Darnay results in the freeing of Charles simply because the two men resemble each other. Therefore, true identification of the accused is placed in doubt. Sydney has fallen in love with Lucie, though he knows he can never have her. He asks only to be a friend of the family and drop by occasionally when Lucie marries Charles Darnay. Through Lucie's kindness and support of Sydney, he chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her husband from execution on the guillotine. In the course of making his decision to die in Charles's place, Sydney gives up alcohol and finds strength in the Bible verse, "I am the resurrection and the life...". His final thoughts are that he is doing a far better thing in his life than he has ever done and will have a far better rest in sacrificing himself for his love of Lucie.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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