A Tale of Two Cities Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 25 December 2016

A Tale of Two Cities

Does strong devotion overpower the will of a good heart? Ernest Defarge, a character in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, is no more than a puppet to his wife. Though he does not like the idea of killing innocent people just because they are aristocrats, he refuses to speak up due to fear of confrontation with his wife. Due to his background and life as a slave, Defarge, like many other revolutionaries, dislikes the aristocracy, and has some desire to get revenge. However, he does not truly want these desires to build to the extent that the revolution got to. Ernest Defarge is a man with a good heat, driven to be a catalyst to the revolutionary acts by his strong devotion to the two things he cares about most: his country, and his wife.

Paragraph 1: Though many may not see it behind all the terrible things he has done, Ernest Defarge really does have a good heart. Ernest Defarge shows compassion my comforting Gaspard, saying, “Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour as happily?” Defarge didn’t have to make an effort to help him out, but he does. This random act of kindness shows that he does in fact have a good side to him. After the child is run over, the Marquis throws a coin out of the carriage, thinking he can pay for the child’s life, and in return he is “suddenly disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage”. In this action of throwing the coin back, which is believed to be done by Monsieur Defarge, shows his dislike to the aristocracy, and foreshadows the fact that he will take a stand against it for the good of his country and its people.

Monsieur Defarge’s personality differentiates from this sense of kindness when he barks orders at the revolutionaries such as, “Patriots and friends, we are ready! The Bastille!” (214). In opposition to his good heart, Defarge is also the leader of the Revolution. In this part of the book, he, and his fellow revolutionaries, destroy The Bastille, and everything else that happens to be in their path. This completely contradicts the compassion shown from Ernest Defarge earlier in the book, but also shows that there may be something behind his madness.

Monsieur Defarge also happens to be an old servant to Dr. Manette, and cares deeply for him, but when it comes to choosing between helping the Doctor, or helping his country, Defarge’s great devotion to France towers over his feelings towards Manette. Do the square thingy with this quote

* “…In a hole in the chimney, where a stone has been worked out and replaced, I find a written paper. This is that written paper. I have made it my business to examine some specimens of the writing of Doctor Manette. This is the writing of Doctor Manette. I confide this paper, in the writing of Doctor Manette, to the hands of the President.” This note he found, is of Manette “(add quote where he condems darnay)” Even though he deeply cared for Manette, he would do anything, literally anything, to help the people of his country.

He believes that sentencing Darnay to death is the right thing to do for France, and since he believes that, he will do everything in his power to make it happen. Defarge knew how bad this would hurt Doctor Manette, since Darnay was the Doctor’s son-in-law, but it was his and his wife’s duty to kill all aristocrats, therefore he couldn’t show and mercy. Defarge would even hurt a friend, in order to do what he thinks will help his country.

Paragraph 4: Even though it is kind of hard to see at first, Madame Defarge seems to have a great deal of power over her husband. “As to thee”, pursued madame, implacably, addressing her husband, “if if depended on thee-which, happily, it does not, thou wouldst rescue this man even now” Even though Monsieur Defarge wants to help Charles Darnay, she wouldn’t allow it. He wanted to help out the Manette’s and save Darnay, but after the revolutionaries were informed on what the Evermond’s did to Madame Defarge’s family, he was the only one who wanted to show mercy. Due to the fear of confrontation with his wife, he doesn’t speak of saving Darnay again.

Ernest Defarge, from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is portrayed as a great leader to the revolutionaries, but in reality, he is merely a puppet, with Madame Defarge as his puppeteer. Devotion can be a strong thing, sometimes so strong that it can lock up the kindness of a good heart, and throw away the key.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 25 December 2016

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