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Essay: Theme of love being stronger than hate: A Tale Of Two Cities

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: June 18, 2021*
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  • Tags: Charles Dickens essays
  • Theme of love being stronger than hate: A Tale Of Two Cities
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The theme of love being stronger than hate is illustrated in the novel A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens which takes place in France and England during the French Revolution. Charles Dickens demonstrates how Sydney Carton makes his decisions based on love for the benefit of others and himself and Madame Defarge makes her decisions based on hate which causes the pain and sorrow of many people. Dickens suggests that love overpowers hate because in the end those who acted on hate don’t have happy endings.

Sydney Carton shows his unselfish love through his sacrifice for others; he loves the Manette family so much that he will give up his life for theirs. Sydney once says to Lucie “For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you. And when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you” (157). He lives up to what he says because later in the story he sacrifices his life so that Lucie could be with her husband Charles Darnay. He knew that Charles is what made Lucie happy and he wanted her to be happy. Sydney loves Lucie so much that he accepts the fact that she would never marry him and instead is happy that she is with Charles. He is a selfless man that is always thinking about others and never himself. Sydney was not always this way though. There was a time when he was always very depressed. Towards the beginning of the novel Sydney and Charles go out for a couple drinks and Sydney says “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me” (102). He is disappointed not with himself but those around him. He drinks to solve his problems which doesn’t actually do much for him. He was a man that didn’t care about anybody including himself. Later on in the story this problem is solved because of his love for Lucie. He begins to deeply care about others especially the Manettes. In conclusion, Sydney is a selfless man that sacrifices himself for benefit of others.

In contrast to Sydney Carton, Madame Defarge acts on hate instead of love. Her strong opinion for the revolution causes her to make radical decisions which bring upon the death and sorrow of many people. Her actions are based on her hate for what happened to her family and her strong opinion for the revolution. Madam Defarge wants to exterminate the whole Evremonde race and anyone who is associated with them. Years ago the Evremonde brothers raped her sister and killed her family, she seeks to avenge their deaths. She says to her fellow revolutionaries, “I care nothing for this Doctor, I. He may wear his head or lose it, for any interest I have in him; it is all one to me. But, the Evrémonde people are to be exterminated, and the wife and child must follow the husband and father”(373). She is so caught up with what happened to her family that she pays no attention to the people who actually committed the crime. She does this to make her feel better but by killing the Manette family she accomplishes nothing. She only makes those who loved them sad and that’s it. Madam Defarge seeks revenge and is willing to do anything to get it. She seems like she can’t get enough of killing people. Madame Defarge runs into Lucie and her daughter and they have a conversation. “The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed to fall so threatening and dark on the child, that her mother instinctively kneeled on the ground beside her, and held her to her breast. The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party then seemed to fall, threatening and dark, on both the mother and the child” (301). Madame Defarge shows a lot of anger and hate towards Lucie and her daughter simply because they are related to Charles Darnay. They have nothing to do with the death of her family but she wants them dead. Dickens describes Madame Defarge as “a strong and fearless character, and shrewd sense and readiness, of seems to impart to its possessor firmness and animosity, but to strike into others an instinctive recognition of those qualities; the troubled time would have heaved her up, under any circumstances.” (375). She is a strong and smart women that is determined to kill whoever is on her “hit list”. She is portrayed as a evil character, her actions based on hate hurt many people both physically and emotionally.

Dickens suggests that love is stronger than hate because through love people are united and “recalled to life” and through hate not much is accomplished. The strongest relationship in the novel is between Lucie and her father, “If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it!” (48). Lucie appears to express love to her father which she has never met. Their bond is very strong very soon. Lucie’s father, Dr. Manette is imprisoned unjustly for many years and therefore feels institutionalized. Even though he is physically out of the prison he mentally feels imprisoned. Through Lucie’s love he is able to be “recalled to life”. Another character in the story that expresses hate and anger is the Monseigneur who was the uncle of Charles. One particular scene of him shows how selfish and malicious he is, “He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell. The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, “Dead!” (115). Later on this man gets killed because of his actions based on hate. Madame Defarge also doesn’t have a great ending. When she goes over to the Manette house to kill the family she gets stopped by Miss Pross who very unselfish similar to Sydney. These two women fight, Madame Defarge is fighting to get to the Manattes so she can kill them and Miss Pross is fighting to protect Manettes. In this battle Madam Defarge gets shot and dies. If she simply wouldn’t of went to the Manette house she would of still been alive. In conclusion, those characters who acted on hate had a unhappy ending or never accomplished their goal as opposed to those who acted on love who were happily ever after.

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