A Tale of Two Cities Character and Theme Quotes
by Charles Dickens

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Essential Quotes by Character: Sydney Carton

Essential Passage 1: Book II (Chapter 4)

“Do you particularly like the man?” he muttered, at his own image; “why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is nothing in you to like; you know that. Ah, confound you! What a change you have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man, that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might have been! Change places with him, and would you have been looked at by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face as he was? Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow.”


Sydney Carton has had dinner with Charles Darnay, the man whom Sydney helped acquit for treason. Sydney, however, has stated that doing so was just part of his job, that it was in no way a personal favor. Charles is very grateful but a bit shocked when Sydney states his dislike of him. Charles nevertheless is the perfect gentleman and does not retaliate and continues on good terms with Sydney. As Charles leaves Sydney to his alcoholic stupor, the latter reflects on his ambivalent feelings for the Frenchman. He questions why he should be expected to like Charles simply because they resemble each other physically. In fact, to Sydney this is an excellent reason to feel the opposite. Charles is a reminder of what Sydney could have been if he had applied himself. Charles is also a reminder that it is the Frenchman, rather than the Englishman, to whom Lucie Manette is evidently drawn.

Essential Passage 2: Book II (Chapter 13)

“My last supplication of all, is this; and with it, I will relieve you of a visitor with whom I well know you have nothing in unison, and between whom and you there is an impassable space. It is useless to say it, I know, but it rises out of my soul. For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for at some quiet times, as ardent and sincere in this one thing. The time will come, the time will not be long in coming, when new ties will be formed about you—ties that will bind you yet more tenderly and strongly to the home you so adorn—the dearest ties that will ever grace and gladden you. O Miss Manette, when the picture of a happy father’s face looks up in yours, when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!”


Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette are to be married, with Dr. Manette’s blessing. Although Sydney Carton has been in love with Lucie since Darnay’s trial, he has come to accept the inevitable—that she would choose a stable person such as Darnay rather than a dissolute slacker such as himself. Rather than separate himself from the new couple, Sydney desires to continue their relationship, even if it is only as a friend. While he does not desire to change his ways, he does want to offer himself as a sacrifice for Lucie, should the occasion arise. Sydney, meeting Lucie prior to her wedding, asks her solely to accept him as a friend, with the pledge that he is at her service for whatever reason. He promises that he will do anything for her or for anyone she loves. He simply asks that, when she is married with children, she would remember that there is someone who would gladly give up his life to save her or her loved ones.

Essential Passage 3: Book III (Chapter 15)

“I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place—then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day’s disfigurement—and I hear...

(The entire section is 3,127 words.)