In "A Tale of Two Cities," what quote best sums up the protagonist's personality?Charles Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Probably one of the most famous lines of "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, the last line of the novel best summarizes the character of Charles Darnay:

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, than I have ever known.

The dissipated parallel of the noble Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton spends his life as "the jackal" for the lawyer Stryver who "shoulders his way through life" in his cupidity.  But, with his grand act of altruism, Carton changes places in the French prison so that Darnay may return safely to his family.

In this act as a sacrificial lamb, Carton attains almost mythical status.  Truly he is the great hero of "A Tale of Two Cities," who, in his laying down of his life, not only saves Darnay, but he redeemas himself.  As he dies, his face is "peaceful [and] many added that he looked sublime and prophetic."  Darnay dies knowing that Lucy will appreciate his act of love in sacrificing his life for hers and her husband's.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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