How does Dickens glorify selfless love in A Tale of Two Cities?

Shape Shape

A Tale of Two Cities is a notable literary work by Charles Dickens. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of A Tale of Two Cities.


How does Dickens glorify selfless love in A Tale of Two Cities?

Introduction: A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is an extraordinary creation of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870). It is a historical novel in which the novelist emphasizes multiple social issues, which are war, love, revolution, ruling system, sacrifice, ruthlessness, especially selfless love. Alexander Manette, Sidney Caron, and Charles Darney are Excellent paradigms of selfless love in the novel A Tale of Two Cities. Lets discuss

Selfless love: Selfless love is a love that comes from the depths of the heart without any form of worldly reward.

Glorification of selfless love

Charles Dickens, The master fictional writer, has glorified selfless love in an outstanding way that is illustrated here with reference to the novel A Tale of Two Cities.

Resurrection by selfless love: In the novel, the resurrection is shown as a major theme through some characters such as Dr. Manette, Sydney Carton, Charles Darnay, and Jerry Cruncher by the selfless love. Dr. Manette loses his physical and mental strength due to his long imprisonment. But he is resurrected physically and mentally by the deep love and affection of his daughter Lucie after his release from his imprisonment after eighteen years. At last, he has been able to restart his life as a physician. That is the result of selfless love.  

Love for daughters happiness: Doctor Alexander Manette is an affectionate father. He can do everything for his daughters happiness. He was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years because of his honesty and for barbaric attitude of Marquis Evremonde’s family. In spite of being a physician, Doctor Manette spends his all time making shoes in the Bastille.

However, the Evremonde family is responsible for the unbearable life of Doctor Manette. In spite of knowing the real identity of Darney, when Dr Manette comes to know that Lucie likes Charles Darnay as her life partner, he allows the marriage without any objections, forgetting his own sorrow. He does it only for his daughters happiness. It refers to nothing but the glorification of selfless love.

Selfless sacrifice for love: Sydney Carton, indifferent and an alcoholic lawyer, is a great paradigm of selfless love in the novel A Tale of Two Cities. He falls in love with Lucie but cannot expose it openly. A time comes when he feels bored in his present life and laments his misused life. He thinks that he can never improve his current condition. Observing Cartons condition, Lucie assures him that he has enough possibility to change his life. Lucie also informs him that she is unable to love him because she likes Darney as her husband. Hearing this, Carton promises to Lucie that he is always ready for any kind of sacrifice for Lucie. Carton says-

“I embrace any sacrifices for you and for those dear to you would”

Lucies husband, Darney, is rearrested in France due to the charge of Ernest Defarge and his revengeful wife. In court, they have been able to prove Charles Darney as an ancestral of cruel Marquis Evremonde. After getting the real identity of Darney, the members of the jury board Condemn him and sentence him to death within the next twenty-four hours.

Upon hearing of Darnye’s execution, Carton meets Darney in prison two hours before his execution and forces Darney to change his shoes, hair, and shirt. Afterward, Carton, with the help of Barsad, places a handkerchief soaked in chloroform near Darney’s nose and makes him unconscious. Carton tells Barsad to take unconscious Darney out of prison. Barsad follows his orders. Carton then takes shelter in Darnoy’s cell, and he embraces death for the happiness of his beloved Lucie. Then Charles Darney joins his family because of Carton’s selfless love. 

Mental and spiritual satisfaction: Sacrifice for love brings mental and spiritual satisfaction. When Carton saves Darneys life from Guillotine, at the cost of his life, before his death, Carton imagines that if he sacrifices his life to save Darnay’s life, Lucie and Darney will get an opportunity to live a happy and peaceful life with their child. They will always remember his name with deep love from the hearth. He thinks One day, France will be free from all kinds of evils and full of intelligent people. He says-

“I see a beautiful city and brilliant people rising from this abyss…..”.

He imagines that his sacrifice for love will take place in the hearts of the new generation. All these imaginations bring him emotional and spiritual satisfaction. Thus, the novelist has glorified selfless love in this novel.

Love for the Servant: Charles Darney’s sacrifice for the servant is another example of selfless love. When Gabelle writes a letter to Darney to save him from prison. Darney, taking the risk of his life, goes to France to free his servant from prison. Thus, his own life falls at risk of death, which is another sign of selfless love.

Conclusion: After scanning the whole novel,  Selfless love inspires people to sacrifice, redemption, personal growth and moral improvement. Sydney Carton’s Christ-like sacrifice for love and humanity is an utmost paradigm of selfless love. The novelist has vividly glorified selfless love in the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”