Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

A Tale of Two Cities includes a lot of juxtaposition. There are many things that are being compared so that Charles Dickens can make his point across. Just from the title and the first few chapters, there is a comparison between the two cities and how it is in Paris and London. Tale of Two Cities is based on the French Revolution and the people involved, this is how Sydney Carton and Stryver get introduced since they are both involved in Charles Darnay case.

Darnay is charged for treason and passing English secrets to the French and Mr. Stryver help him in his case as well as Carton, which we learn later on. By using juxtaposition the reader is able to understand more about the characters that are in the book since Dickens shows a comparison between Carton and Stryver even though they are similar in some aspects.

Mr. Stryver is the lawyer that is very outspoken and involved in the court case.

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During the cross-examination, he was the one speaking throughout the whole thing and he was making valid points. He was able to help Darnay by getting Carton noticed in the courtroom to show the jury that the witnesses were not credible, but it was all after Carton had told him. He continues to take credit. Stryver even thinks very highly of himself since even when talking about marrying Lucie he believed there was no reason for him to ask, but simply do her the favor. He believed that he would have given a, “ good fortune on the Doctor’s daughter, resolved to make her happiness known to her,” (147).

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His ego is so high that he does not think of asking for her hand it is more than he has this belief that they will get married, but it gets shut down after he tells Mr. Lorry. He continues to think he is better so when Mr. Lorry says that Lucie would say no he becomes defensive and says she is not worthy of him. This shows his personality but understood better when compared to Carton in similar situations throughout the book.

There was also the other lawyer, Carton who from first seeing him we would not have known his true personality. He was also introduced in the court case, but he was quiet and he did not speak since he kept looking at the ceiling. Charles Dickens made this purposely so that the readers can question him as a character and start getting thoughts on the person he is, but it later changes. After the case, both men go to drink in Stryver’s apartment, but what makes them different is what they decide to do after. Stryer as the lion goes to sleep and rest while Carton, who is described as a jackal, continues to work. They continue talking and Stryver points out the past when they attended school together and Carton says, “even then, I did exercises for other boys, and seldom did my own,” (94). Carton always did the work for others and he continues to do it for Stryver. If the readers were not able to compare both men then it would be hard to know that Carton is actually very hardworking instead of Stryver since he does all the work and is later tired during the court case.

Having juxtaposition was very helpful to understand the characters more as they develop throughout the book. Stryver and Carton are both lawyers and they are also interested in Lucie. They even acted differently towards her when talking about their feelings. Carton does not feel as if he is worthy of having her in his life and he describes her beauty while Stryver just says she is a golden-haired doll. There was a lot of subtle hints in Tale of Two Cities when comparing both men especially chapters 12 and 13. The titles of the chapters were The Fellow of Delicacy and The Fellow of No Delicacy referring to Carton and Stryver. For juxtaposition to work there needed to be things that both men had in common, which they did but their differences were what needed to stand out so that Dickens point was able to be shown across of the type of people they are.

Overall, the use of juxtaposition in The Tale of Two Cities is very important to the reader for us to understand more about the characters. Without the use of juxtaposition, it would be hard for readers to know more about the characters. Knowing more about Carton was needed since he can become an important character later on. Especially how Carton does not believe in himself since all the credit for the work he has done has gone to someone else that is also the reason to him being down all the time. When talking to Lucie he thought she deserved better and said he would take him life for her. He did want to be more like Darnay, not just in looks but in personality and he was jealous when he saw them looking at each other in the courtroom as well as when Lucie started to cry during her testimony. This is not the first time juxtaposition is shown in The Tale of Two Cities to keep the readers informed, therefore, it shows how valuable it can be.


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