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Tale of Two Cities

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Noble or Suicidal

People often give up their life to save another as an act of courage or valiancy. In the novel Tale of Two Cities, Sidney Carton's death saved Charles Darnay. However, when Carton gave his life it was not a noble act nor did he die merely to save Darnay. Carton committed suicide to immortalize himself in the eyes of Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay's wife and Sidney Carton's obsession. The fact that this event saved Charles Darnay's life was just a fortunate coincidence.

Ever since Carton was first introduced in the novel the author established that he was a drunk and a failure. Mr. Striver pointed out to Sidney Carton that his alcohol problem was interfering with his success as a lawyer. One time while with Lucie, Sidney Carton said that he would give his life to make her happy. He was dedicated to Lucie even though he could not have her for his wife.

The main reason Carton committed suicide was because his life was going nowhere. In fact, if his life was moving in any direction it was down. He was a sad excuse for a lawyer. Lucie was married and had a child. The woman he loved pitied him. Yet Carton had a pathetic need to be around Lucie. For example, he swore that he would come visit Lucie and her kids frequently.

The major reasons for Sidney Carton's death revolved around Lucie Manette. Chances are Sidney would have given up alcohol if he could have married Lucie. He most likely would have become a prosperous lawyer if he needed to support a family. Carton would not have been the "jackal" anymore, as described by his law partner Mr. Striver.

One might think that if Carton cleaned up his act he could have convinced Lucie to be his wife. The opinion Lucie had towards Carton may have been different if he was a successful lawyer and not an alcoholic. The reader is unaware if Carton was ever a successful lawyer. The novel starts off too late in Sidney Carton's life to determine if his alcoholism was caused by the rejection of Lucie. The reader is unable to ascertain if Sidney's life was always bad or if it slowly went downhill.

Carton's decision to sacrifice his life at the execution was suicide not a noble act intended to save Charles Darnay's life. Carton's motive was to impress Lucie so that she would always remember him. He had no reason to live



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