In A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens created two of the most contrasting characters ever put into a book. One is the bloodthirsty Madame Defarge, and the other is the self-abnegating Sydney Carton. Madame Defarge is a peasant who seeks revenge on all aristocrats who cross her path. Sydney Carton is a man who is willing to do anything for the love of his life. While the actions of these two characters clearly show their differences, what drives each character is quite similar.
From Madame Defarges actions, it is clear that she is the evil antagonist in the novel. She is as evil as she is because when she was younger the Evremonde brothers killed her whole family. Now the purpose of her life is to get revenge on the Evremonde family and every other aristocrat. Even when told by her husband that she has gone too far, she does not stop. Instead her reaction to him was, “Tell the wind and fire where to stop, not me”. In this statement she shows how she will never forget what was done to her family and how the Evermondes deserve what they will receive. The actions she performs in her daily life demonstrate her evilness.
These actions include her knitting of poeple who will be killed and trying to murder young girls. In the novel it seems like she is the “bad guy” who is starting up all the trouble. It is her need for revenge, in the book, that starts the revolution. While Dickens presents Sydney Carton as a worthless drunk, he is actually the most noble figure of the novel. Although he is a man who has not recieved any high social position in his life, he proved anything but worthless.
It also seems as though his life has resulted in nothing. At one point he says, “I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me”. Then when he meets Lucy Manette his whole outlook upon life changes. He develops an everlasting child-like love for her. Sydney is willing to do anything for her and tells her so in a speech he made to her.
In it he states, “Think now and then that there is a man who would give up his life, to keep a life you love beside you”. Although she does not marry him, he continues to love her until the day he dies. While contemplating if he should give up his life for her love, he demonstrates his selflessness by saying, “Let the Doctor play the winning game; I will play the losing one.” Sydney is giving up his right to live so that Dr.Manette can keep his son-in-law and so lucy can keep her husband Charles. Both men love Lucy and they know she will not be the same without her husband, so Sydney offers his life to keep a life Lucy loves beside her. While the actions of these two characters symbolize good versus evil, what drives both Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton is very similar.
Both Defarge and Carton live their lives passionately. Madame Defarge passionately devotes her life to seeking revenge. She constantly knits a list of those she wishes dead in order to fulfill that wish. She even attempts to ruin the lives of people not on her list in order to ruin the lives of people who are on her list. Sydney Carton is so passionately in love with Lucy Manette and not willing to give up that he says, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, that I have ever done; it is a Far, far better rest than I have ever known”.
He is talking of how his life has resulted to nothing so what he will now do is better than anything he has ever done before. Also, everything he does is for his love. Along with that, in his speech where he confesses his love for her, he speaks about how his love will continue till the day he dies. He says, “In the hour of my death..that my last avowal of myself was made to you”. Also, both are very strong characters. They stand up for what they believe in and will not give up.
An example of this for Sydney Carton is when Lucy marries Charles Darnay. He does not end his love for her, his love continues on until the day he dies. An example for Mrs.Defarges strength is when she continues.