A diversity of characters: Dickens is one of the greatest creators of characters in English fiction. A mere glance of at the list of persons who figure in any of his novels is enough to remind us of the author’s amazing fertility in invention. He has portrayed a whole variety of characters such as David Copperfield, Pip, Trotwood and Sam Weller. There is no dearth of real and unique characters in his works.
Dialogue vs. Incident: A TALE OF TWO CITIES affords ample evidence of Dickens’ capacity for character –portrayal. The range of characters in A TALE OF TWO CITIES is wide and has deep and penetrating studies. Some of the figures like Monsieur Defarge and Madame Defarge are memorable. Dickens purpose in the case of this novel was to allow the characters to reveal themselves through incidents and through their deeds and actions rather than through dialogues, but it is wrong to assume that he ignores dialogues. They are as important as the actions. John Forster, his friend and biographer says, “To rely less upon character than upon incident and to resolve that his actors should be expressed by the story more than they should express themselves by dialogue, was for him a hazardous and can hardly be called an entirely successful experiment.”
The characters are sharply individualized: The characters of A TALE OF TWO CITIES have been sharply been individualized. Each character is a distinct person in his or her own right. (Describe their individual qualities to distinguish them.)
The Character of Dr. Manette: discuss his role in the novel/ his habit of shoe-making and condition of inaction/ his performance at the end of the novel/ his salient qualities/ his insanity/ father-daughter relationship etc./ his responsibility at the attendance of a sick girl and boy wronged by the Evremonde family/ His prison.
Charles Darnay: Charles Darnay too reveals the essential traits of his character through dialogue. Of course, one of his basic traits appears through action also. His help to Gabelle/ his renunciation/ his love with Lucie/ his sincerity: He says to Dr. Manette:
“Dear Dr. Manette, I love your daughter fondly, dearly, disinterestedly devotedly. If ever there were love in the world, I love her.”
So we can say that dialogue and incident play an important part in the novel.
Sydney Carton: We then come to Sydney whose action is giving up his life for the sake of the husband of the woman whom he loves is great importance. Carton’s character appears before us only through dialogues. He has a conversation with Darnay immediately after his acquittal at the Old Bailey. Carton says that he cares for no body in the world and no body cares about him. He looks into the mirror and says that he hates Darnay even though there is a physical resemblance between the two. A dialogue between Carton and Stryver reveals that the former is a “see-saw” kind of man. Up one minute and down the next. He expresses his love for Lucie in a dialogue and says that he is a profligate. Describe his aspects of personality from the above answers.
Mr. Lorry: The character of Mr. Lorry is also revealed to us through dialogue. In the beginning, he has a long conversation with Lucie where he appears to be “a man of business” and describes himself as such. He has a dialogue with Miss Pross about his concern for Dr. Manette. Towards to end, he rebukes Jerry for his impious activities. Describe some of his aspects.
Miss Pross, Jerry Cruncher & Stryver: write from their humorous activities above.
The Defarges: write from above information.