Who is the real hero 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.


Who is the real hero in A Tale of Two Cities?

A Tale of Two Cities” (1859) is a timeless masterpiece by Victorian novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870). It is set against the stormy background of the French Revolution. In the novel, many characters navigate a world flush with chaos, injustice, and moral difficulties. There is a convincing argument that Sydney Carton is a true hero, a complex and transformational character in the novel. Let’s see how Sydney Carton is a real hero.

Sacrificial Redemption: Sydney Carton‘s extreme moment of heroism lies in his ultimate self-sacrifice. Carton willingly decides to exchange places with Charles Darnay, a man he unjustly sentenced to face the guillotine. His farewell words, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done,” prove his noble sacrifice. Carton’s sacrifice represents the redemptive power of love and selflessness. It transforms him from an immoral and cynical lawyer into a selfless hero who finds profound meaning in giving his life to another. Carton says:

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

Deep Personality Growth: At the novel’s beginning, Sydney Carton is depicted as a disillusioned and morally directionless individual, mired in indifference and cynicism. His excessive drinking and disregard for well-being sharply contrast with the hero he becomes later in the story. His transformation from a “waste of life” to a selfless hero is a striking narrative turn that emphasizes the novel’s theme of resurrection, symbolizing the possibility of redemption for even the most defective individuals.

Unrequited Love: Sydney Carton’s unrequited love for Lucie Manette, the novel’s central character, is a powerful motivator for his actions. He understands Lucie can never exchange his feelings similarly. Though he tirelessly tries to protect and secure her happiness. His love for Lucie drives him to save Charles Darnay, Lucie’s husband, from certain death in France. 

Redemption and Second Chances: The novel’s title, “A Tale of Two Cities,” suggests both cities between London and Paris during the French Revolution. Sydney Carton’s statement beautifully expresses the idea of personal redemption and second chances. Carton’s transformation and ultimate sacrifice embody Dickens’ exploration of the possibility for individuals to overcome their past mistakes and lead lives of purpose and virtue.

Selflessness in a Selfish World: The world depicted in “A Tale of Two Cities” is characterized by greed, brutality, and self-interest, with violence and disorder reigning supreme. In this world of turmoil, Sydney Carton‘s selflessness is a rare signal of hope and morality. His decision to save Charles Darnay amid such a stormy environment is a prominent example of selflessness in a world driven by selfishness.

The Rescuer of Charles Darnay: Sydney Carton plays an assistant role in saving Charles Darnay on multiple occasions. His legal awareness and resourcefulness lead to Darnay’s release when he is unjustly accused of treason in England. Carton’s intelligence and uncompromising dedication to saving Darnay’s life are examples of his true heroism.

Consistent Loyalty: Carton’s commitment remains faithful to Lucie and her family throughout the novel. It describes his integrity and willingness to go to extraordinary altitudes to protect and support them. He declares: 

“For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything.”

An Inspirational Figure: Sydney Carton’s selfless act of sacrifice is a source of inspiration, not only to the characters within the novel but also to readers. His words, 

“It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” 

It resonates as a powerful reminder of the possibility of goodness within humanity. He also declares, 

“A Day wasted on others is not wasted on oneself.” 

It is an inspirational statement. Carton’s heroism is a moral compass, inspiring readers to reflect upon their capacity for selflessness and goodwill.

In conclusion, it is clear that Sydney Carton is a real hero in the novel “A Tale of Two Cities,.” His self-sacrifice, profound character development, unrequited love, and loyalty make him a brilliant figure and real hero in the dark and unrest world. Carton’s transformation and ultimate sacrifice convey the novel’s themes of resurrection and the limitless possibility for redemption. Carton’s love story and his sacrifice for love are a prominent reminder of the world’s transformative power of selflessness and love.