The French Revolution can best be described by Dickens in the opening phrase of his novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Dickens 1). A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens in 1859, takes place in London and Paris during the French Revolution. The book tells the story of a circle of people living and fighting during this dangerous time. These characters include Dr. Manette, a doctor and prisoner of the Bastille for eighteen years who is just reunited with his lovable daughter, Lucie, for the first time since his imprisonment. Mr. Lorry is a banker and family friend of the Manette’s and Charles Darnay is a kind, generous man with a corrupt, noble family who marries Lucie. The Defarges are a married couple who lead the peasants’ revolt in the Revolution, and Sydney Carton is a lawyer’s assistant with a seemingly wasted life, but finds his life’s worth in the end. From these characters and this story, the theme of sacrifice is well displayed, especially the sacrifice for loved ones. The book shows us that love overcomes evil every time through the sacrifices of Miss Pross, Dr. Manette, and Sydney Carton.
Out of a selfless love, Miss Pross, Lucie’s caretaker and mother figure, is willing to sacrifice herself for Lucie’s safety. Madame Defarge, one of the leaders in the peasant revolt of the Revolution, hates and wants to kill all of the Evremonde family as revenge for the murder of her entire family. Since Darnay, Lucie’s husband, is an Evremonde, Madame Defarge craves to kill him as well as his family, including Lucie. She has already captured Darnay, who is soon to be beheaded. Therefore, all she needs is to kill Lucie and her daughter and the Evremonde family will be eliminate…
… who sacrifices his life for someone else out of love, in the novel. From this ultimate sacrifice, Carton receives the ultimate reward: Heaven.From reading about these sacrifices, it is evident that love is stronger than evil. Love defeats the hatred in each example through the willingness to give a part of or all of themselves up for the ones they love. Sacrifices for others not only show a person’s love for someone in A Tale of Two Cities, but it can also be shown through sacrifices in everyday life. Through this theme of sacrifice in the novel, Dickens is trying to exemplify that giving something up for close ones creates an even stronger bond of love between one another. Sacrifices show love and will never display hate. This is why love always wins in the end.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Dover Thrift ed. Mineola: Dover, 1999. Print.