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Sacrifice In A Tale Of Two Cities Essay, Research Paper

Throughout the book, A Tale of Two Cities the theme of sacrifice is used to help the

reader realize the cost of life, as well as to develop the plot through the effects of

those sacrifices. Through the characters of Sydney Carton, Dr. Manette, and Ms. Pross

the theme of sacrifice is developed. The theme of sacrifice brings key aspects of the

plot together, and Carton’s sacrifice brings the novel to closer in the end.

Sydney Carton paid the highest cost of sacrifice with his life, and in doing so he was

very similar to Jesus Christ. Carton laid down his life for a man who had never done

anything for him and who in fact had abused his relationship as demonstrated on page

191 when Carton describes himself in Darnay’s view as “a dissolute dog who has never

done any good, and never will.” Similarly Jesus Christ let himself be beaten, abused, and

killed for the same people who spit in his face. Other people in both cases thought that

Jesus and Carton were not thought to be much more that dogs, while they both

sacrificed their lives so these people who treated them like dogs could live. Both

Carton’s and Jesus’ sacrifice was inspired by a deep desperate love for which they were

willing to do anything. Carton was willing to die for Lucie because of his desperate,

scandalous love for her, just as Jesus showed his love for man when he was willing to

give up his life for every man. This level of love makes the sacrifice even more valuable

and brings things to closure. Finally, Carton and Jesus both knew that through their

sacrifice, others could have life. Carton’s death breathed life into Darnay just as Jesus

Christ’s death breathes life into those who trust in him. The importance of their death is

that it brings life. The role of Carton’s sacrifice in the plot is that the cost of life is

sometimes high. Through his sacrifice the cost and privilege of living can be measured,

just as Christians can see the true cost and privilege of life through Jesus Christ’s


Dr. Manette also sacrificed much of his life by giving up his own personal goals and

agenda for Lucie. On page 125 Dr. Manette says, “any fancies, any reasons, and

apprehensions, anything whatsoever, new or old against the man she really loved they

shall all be obliterated for her sake.” Dr. Manette was willing to relinquish his own

personal feelings or perhaps “rights” so that Lucie may be happy. He set aside,

“anything whatsoever” in order for Lucie to marry the man she loves. Dr. Manette did

anything he could to save Darnay from death, even to the point where Madame

Defarge mocked him saying, “Save him now, my Doctor save him!” Dr. Manette had

always been suspicious about Darnay, but he put aside his doubts in to Make Lucie

happy. Deep down he knew that Darnay was an Evermond , but he sacrificed his own

feelings for Lucie’s feelings. Thirdly, Dr. Manette gave up all of his desires, hopes,

thoughts of revenge for Lucie, as demonstrated when he says, “She is everything to

me; more to me than suffering, more to me than wrong, more to me .” Dr. Manette had

years of anger and revenge stored up him from when he was imprisoned, yet he forgot

about all of it and only tried to make Lucie happy and make up for the many years he

had lost. Dr. Manette’s pain was so great that he often reverts to the insanity that

was caused from his imprisonment, while he still does everything he can even though

his pain is so great that he can not physically control it. Manette laid down his life so

that Lucie could fully live.

Ms. Pross sacrificed her life day by day for Lucie to have a better life. Ms. Pross simply

devoted her life to Lucie, and her well being which is shown when Mr. Lorry describes

Ms. Pross’s devotion, “there is nothing better in the world than the faithful service of

the heart; so rendered and so free from any mercenary taint” (87). Ms. Pross was

sacrificed things everyday by simply being devoted to Lucie. She did everything she

could so that Lucie could have the best possible life. Ms. Pross’s devotion is

demonstrated once again on page 86 when she is described as, “one of those unselfish

creatures found only among women who will for pure love and admiration, bind

themselves willing slaves, to youth when they have lost it, to beauty that they never

had, to accomplishments that they were never fortunate enough to gain and to bright

hopes that never shined upon their own somber lives.” Ms. Pross sacrificed her hopes

and dreams so that Lucie might have her own hopes and dreams fulfilled. Ms. Pross did

not have all the beauty and fortune in the world, but she lived so that Lucie might

someday. Ms. Pross’s ultimate sacrifice of devotion was when she put her own life at

risk to save Lucie’s along with others, as she struggled with Madame Defarge to protect

their safety. Because Ms. Pross was diligent enough to make sure that Lucie’s trip was

safe; Lucie’s life was saved, at what could have cost Ms. Pross her life. By Ms. Pross’s

willingness to do anything for Lucie, Lucie’s life was saved.

Ultimately, it was the sacrifices made by people like Ms. Pross and Sydney Carton that

allowed people to live. Through their numerous sacrifices, the value of life is measured

in A Tale of Two Cities, and their sacrifices give life to a time that was filled with much

more death than life. Just as Jesus’ sacrifice allowed people to have life, the sacrifices

of Dr. Manette, Ms. Pross, and Carton allowed people to live.


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