Tale of Two Cities -Recalled to Life

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The novel Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens explores the theme of “recalled to life,” which examines love, redemption, and the struggle between good and evil. Through this theme, Dickens demonstrates that everyone deserves a second chance. This idea is particularly evident in the characters Dr. Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton. Moreover, “recalled to life” symbolizes not only rejuvenating one’s mind but also their entire existence. Ultimately, it becomes a powerful force in transforming both individuals’ physical and mental well-being.

The way in which characters are perceived by others greatly affects how they react and provides readers with insights into their personalities. Sydney Carton exemplifies someone who craves and works towards gaining this acknowledgment. He depends on others to rescue him from his feelings of insignificance, making him a prime illustration of being “recalled to life” as he transitions from hopelessness to discovering worth. Despite his intelligence and well-meaning intentions, Carton is unable to find optimism internally and relies on the support of others. Proving his own value proves to be a difficult task for him.

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When Miss Lucie Manette finds out that Mr. Carton has feelings for her, she responds by saying, “Can I not save you, Mr. Carton? Can I not recall you—forgive me again!—to a better course? Can I in no way repay your confidence?” Lucie’s reply demonstrates her belief in a brighter future for Carton and her understanding that he just needs to make an effort. However, it is not until the book’s climax that Carton finally feels a sense of being “recalled to life,” where he believes he has done everything he can to help Lucie. His main goal is to save the people he loves and ensure Lucie does not become a widow while also protecting Darnay from imminent death.

The protagonist willingly sacrifices himself because he believes he has not achieved anything significant in his life and is willing to die for the love he has for others. Despite the negative actions he has committed, Sydney is ultimately a brave and righteous individual. Similarly, Dr. Manette also reaches an understanding about his own life. After spending 18 years in the Bastille due to the actions of Marquis Evremonde, Dr. Manette is finally reunited with his daughter. He had spent many years making shoes and being trapped in his own thoughts, identifying only as “105 North Tower.” However, Mr. Lorry and Miss Lucie Manette bring him back to England.

Over many years of dedicated work, Miss Lucie assists her father in overcoming his old prison habits. However, it is not until the day they are compelled to return to France that we witness a transformed Dr Manette. Fueled by his resolve to reunite his daughter with her husband, he becomes stronger and more determined. Having been imprisoned in the Bastille and subsequently liberated, Dr Manette earns immediate reverence from the revolutionaries. Harnessing his newfound resilience, Dr Manette strives to secure the release of Charles Darnay, who is now confined in La Force prison and facing a death sentence.

With the assistance of Lucie and Carton, Charles Darnay narrowly evades execution for treason. Filled with resolve to begin a fresh life, he strives to find honorable work but declines his inheritance during a visit to his uncle. After several years, Darnay proposes marriage to Lucie. However, his safety is endangered upon the revelation that he is an aristocrat and the nephew of the Marquis who incarcerated Dr Manette. As a result, his name is included in the roster of individuals slated for beheading by guillotine.

The assistance of Dr Manette and the sacrifices made by Sydney Carton contribute to his rebirth, saving him from imminent death. Throughout the book, there are various locations that symbolize this concept of being brought back to life, but not solely in a physical sense, rather on a spiritual and perhaps even mental level. We witness transformations in characters such as Dr Manette that occur consistently throughout the passage. Conversely, Sydney Carton selflessly sacrifices his own life for the sake of his loved ones, ultimately finding a sense of purpose and importance. The presence of being recalled to life serves as evidence of the bravery and determination that were present in the face of his impending demise.

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Tale of Two Cities -Recalled to Life. (2016, Oct 24). Retrieved from


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