In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Sydney Carton transforms from a self-doubting, negligent man to a caring, valiant hero which shows how love can change a person drastically as he is “recalled to life” during his time with Charles Darnay, Mr. Lorry, and Lucie Manette. Sydney Carton’s relationship with Charles Darnay is unique because he is the husband to Lucie while Carton is in love with her, and thinks he will never do any good in his lifetime, but becomes his savior.
While talking to the newly freed Darnay after his trial, he shows his self pity when he says, “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me” (Dickens 85). He describes himself as a “drudge” which is someone who does dull work and how no one cares for him, showing how he thinks of his life as meaningless because he has no purpose to do anything since it is dull. He is “recalled to life” after Darnay is on trial again after a letter is found which states how his family hurt many people. He is sentenced to be killed and Lucie becomes sad.
Carton only wants the best for Lucie and creates a plan to switch places with Darnay, meaning he will be the one to die. When he goes to Darnay’s cell to switch places he is described as, “There was something so bright and remarkable in his look, that, for the first moment, the prisoner misdoubted him to be an apparition of his own imagining” (Dickens 355). Earlier he describes himself as dull but he is now “recalled to life” and “bright” because his meaning has been found, which is to switch with Darnay to keep Lucie happy because she is the only person he ever cared for.
Darnay is so used to seeing Carton as being dreary but after realizing how he can help someone becomes “remarkable” because he is not purposeless anymore. He changes from a self doubting “drudge” to a “remarkable” hero for saving Darnay for the love of Lucie while finding his meaning, showing how he is “recalled to life”. Carton introduces himself to Mr. Lorry while he is a drunk, careless man and later becomes an important figure that consoles Mr. Lorry in his time of sadness while becoming warmhearted.
After Darnay’s trial Carton starts speaking with Mr. Lorry who wonders how it is Carton’s business. During their conversation he says, “Business! Bless you, I have no business” (Dickens 82). He talks about how he has no business and after Mr. Lorry says it is a shame he has none, he agrees, showing how he has accepted that he has nothing to care for and is okay with it. After Darnay is going to be on trial again, Mr. Lorry becomes fearful of the possible outcomes and Carton helps make him feel better, showing is caring and passionate.
As they are speaking Mr. Lorry notices a change in him. Dickens writes, “Though he said the last words, with a slip into his usual manner, there was a true feeling and respect both in his tone and in his touch, that Mr. Lorry, who had never seen the better side of him, was wholly unprepared for” (Dickens 314). The “true feeling” is his change to being caring. The use of “tone” and “touch” exemplifies how he is thoughtful because he sounds and feels different, not just seems it.
Carton changes from negligent to compassionate and is “recalled to life” because his manner is gentler showing he cares and is more lively, while he used to be absent minded and almost soul less before meeting Lucie and her family. Carton falls in love with Lucie Manette but realizes he will never be with her, however; he stays in her life and saves her husband from death while hoping they have a good life together. After meeting her and becoming envious of Darnay he says to himself, “Change places with him, and would you have been looked at by those blue eyes as he was” (Dickens 85-86).
He explains how feels that if they switched, he could be the one Lucie loves and not her, but feels pity for himself because he wonders what would be different if it was him Lucie wanted and not Darnay. After he switches with Darnay and is killed, his thoughts of what the Manette’s lives would be after learning of the plan are described, he explains, “I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name… a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine” (381). He says how he sees a child that will be named after him who will be successful unlike himself.
His realization that he will not be successful but he knows that someone else can from his help shows how he changes from someone who did nothing and did not care, to someone who wants to do the only thing he can to help someone else, which happens to be Lucie and Darnay. He is “recalled to life” because of this realization, by recognizing his only purpose in the world and accepting it. Sydney Carton’s transformation from a hopeless man to a considerate one shows how love can change a person because it brings out their better qualities after beginning to care about something.
He becomes a hero because he realizes his love is strong and that he is willing to die to prove it, even if Lucie will never love him back, exemplifying how love can cause people to take drastic measures to win someone over or have them realize it. His willingness to kill himself so Lucie thinks of him as a hero proves how deep love can go and make someone do things they would never do, showing it can be a driving factor in bringing out a person’s true self.