A Tale of Two Cities Essay

Submitted By joetrav
Words: 654
Pages: 3

A TALE OF TWO CITIES.................................... Joe Traver

Every year, football fans around the country flock to their televisions to watch the Super Bowl. For some, their team is there to win; for others, they want one to lose. Whatever the particular viewer's case may be, there are always two teams competing to see which is better. There may be an underdog, there may be a miracle pass to save the game, but no matter what, someone walks out a winner, and someone a loser. The same happens in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, between characters Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. The integrity of both characters is questioned throughout the book, ultimately resulting in the question, “who is the better man?” The answer to this question is simply thus: Charles Darnay is the better man.

To determine the better of two things, whether they are sandwiches or human beings, one must first know what better really means. It has many characteristics attributed to it, such as being for the common good and having more of a particular good quality, but it needs to have a clear and distinct definition. Better is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “more attractive, favorable, or commendable.”

There are two ways of showing how Charles Darnay was a better man than Sydney Carton. The first way is to show how one man simply is not. Sydney Carton is first introduced in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities as a hyper-observant, raging alcoholic. One of his first spoken lines is, “I am a disappointed drudge, sir, I care for no man on earth, and no man cares for me.” (A Tale of Two Cities, page 89). First impressions matter in this physical world we live in. They delegate the way one thinks, acts, and speaks about a certain person or thing. Introducing oneself like that is not that great of a start. Then, Dickens, the Narrator, introduces Sydney as the “idlest and most unpromising of men.” (pg. 91) When a character says something about himself, there is leeway as to the intentions; however, when a narrator does something like this, there is a definite reason. An occurring theme throughout the novel is this idea of a jackal and a lion, the lion being superior over the two, just as one man is superior of another. The narrator again says, “Although Sydney Carton would never be a lion, he would be an amazingly good jackal.” (pg 91) Throughout the novel, Sydney is portrayed as a shaky man, a raging…