A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"It Is A Far, Far Better Thing That I Do, Than I Have Ever Done"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens employs a typically complex plot to show the horror of the French Revolution. Charles Darnay, freed in an English court for treason where Lucie Manette testifies and where he is released because of his resemblance to Sydney Carton, his lawyer's helper, marries Lucie. Carton, an alcoholic who is a "man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise," also loves Lucie and pledges that he will always be willing to give his life to preserve any life that she loves. Later, Darnay, inheritor of the St. Evrémonde title in France and wrongly sentenced to the guillotine, awaits death. To fulfill his pledge, Carton succeeds in entering the prison, drugging Darnay, and taking his place as the condemned man. Dying peacefully, Carton might have said of his death:

"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."

"It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Dickens opens this historical novel of the...

(The entire section is 359 words.)