Redemption in a Tale of Two Cities

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Khaled Hosseini once said that “humans find meaning and redemption in the most unusual human connections.”In A Tale of Two Cities, this plays especially true concerning the connections between all the characters. While helping others with little regard to their own condition, each character adds value to their own lives in various ways. In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens exemplifies the theme that self-sacrifice achieves redemption through the characters of Charles Darnay, Doctor Manette, and Sydney Carton. Charles Darnay risks himself to save Gabelle during the French revolution despite of the tremendous danger. For much of his life, Darnay feels his family, the Evremondes’, “have done wrong, and are reaping the fruits of wrong” (Dickens 117) and “[injured] every human creature who came between [them] and [their] pleasure” (Dickens 117). Darnay flees from France to escape the cruelty of his uncle. Leonard Manheim, in Volume 1 of Dickens Studies Annual: Essays of Victorian Fiction, also points out that while fleeing, Darnay drops the “hated appellation Evremonde, adapting his new surname from his mother’s noble name of D’Aulnay, eliding the aristocratic de in deference to British taste” (Manheim 230). This shows Darnay’s resentment toward his own family and his want to disassociate himself from his birth family. Even though Darnay flees to France and changes his name to rid himself of his uncle’s cruelty, he still feels “responsible for it, but powerless in it” (Dickens 117). Darnay remains powerless until he receives a letter from Gabelle. Threatened by the revolutionaries, Gabelle asks for aid from Darnay. Despite the fact that “[Darnay] had oppressed no man,” (Dickens 226) Darnay feels that “his justice, honour, and good name” (Dickens 226) became the deciding factor for him to go to Paris. Darnay manages to free Gabelle at the cost of the
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