The Guillotine In Charles Dickens's A Tale Of Two Cities

925 Words4 Pages
The guillotine, which is widely recognized as the main form of execution utilized during the French revolution, at first glance symbolizes only anarchy, hatred, and murder. However, through a carefully executed plot line, Charles Dickens used the guillotine to save one character’s reputation. The author develops Sidney Carton, the selfish drunk without a care in the world, into a noble, loving character. In the end, the guillotine is used to bring Carton to his demise, but this in turn saves Lucie and Darnay. Through his act of self-sacrifice, Carton absolves his crude past and gains respect from readers. In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Sidney Carton’s love for Lucie Manette is the driving force which ultimately redeems his character at the end of the novel; his capacity to love another person transforms his character from a self-centered alcoholic to a selfless hero. Charles Dickens quickly informs his readers of the impertinent and egoistic nature of Sidney Carton’s character. Described as “careless” and “fully half-insolent”, Carton is introduced to readers as someone who has little respect for anyone, including himself. While drunk in a tavern with Charles Darnay, Carton expresses, “‘You know I have been drinking...you shall likewise know why...I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me’” (Dickens 84). Sidney Carton has no shame, and he does not apologize for his irresponsible habits. This quality is highlighted by the fact that Carton and
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