In "A Tale of Two Cities" Charles Dickens created two of the most contrasting
characters ever put into a book. One is the bloodthirsty Madame Defarge, and the other is
the self-abnegating Sydney Carton. Madame Defarge is a peasant who seeks revenge on
all aristocrats who cross her path. Sydney Carton is a man who is willing to do anything
for the love of his life. While the actions of these two characters clearly show their
differences, what drives each character is quite similar.

From Madame Defarge's actions, it is clear that she is the evil antagonist in the
novel. She is as evil as she is because when she was younger the Evremonde brothers
killed her whole family. Now the purpose of her life is to get revenge on the Evremonde
family and every other aristocrat. Even when told by her husband that she has gone too
far, she does not stop. Instead her reaction to him was, "Tell the wind and fire where to
stop, not me". In this statement she shows how she will never forget what was done to her
family and how the Evermondes deserve what they will receive. The actions she performs
in her daily life demonstrate her evilness. These actions include her knitting of poeple who
will be killed and trying to murder young girls. In the novel it seems like she is the "bad
guy" who is starting up all the trouble. It is her need for revenge, in the book, that starts
the revolution.

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While Dickens presents Sydney Carton as a worthless drunk, he is actually the
most noble figure of the novel. Although he is a man who has not recieved any high social
position in his life, he proved anything but worthless. It also seems as though his life has
resulted in nothing. At one point he says, "I care for no man on earth, and no man on
earth cares for me". Then when he meets Lucy Manette his whole outlook upon life
changes. He develops an everlasting child-like love for her. Sydney is willing to do
anything for her and tells her so in a speech he made to her. In it he states, "Think now
and then that there is a man who would give up his life, to keep a life you love beside
you". Although she does not marry him, he continues to love her until the day he dies.
While contemplating if he should give up his life for her love, he demonstrates his
selflessness by saying, "Let the Doctor play the winning game; I will play the losing
one." Sydney is giving up his right to live so that Dr.Manette can keep his son-in-law and
so lucy can keep her husband Charles. Both men love Lucy and they know she will not be
the same without her husband, so Sydney offers his life to keep a life Lucy loves beside
While the actions of these two characters symbolize good versus evil, what drives
both Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton is very similar. Both Defarge and Carton live
their lives passionately. Madame Defarge passionately devotes her life to seeking revenge.
She constantly knits a list of those she wishes dead in order to fulfill that wish. She even
attempts to ruin the lives of people not on her list in order to ruin the lives of people who
are on her list. Sydney Carton is so passionately in love with Lucy Manette and not willing
to give up that he says, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, that I have ever done; it is a
Far, far better rest than I have ever known". He is talking of how his life has resulted to
nothing so what he will now do is better than anything he has ever done before. Also,
everything he does is for his love. Along with that, in his speech where he confesses his
love for her, he speaks about how his love will continue till the day he dies. He says, "In
the hour of my deaththat my last avowal of myself was made to you". Also, both are
very strong characters. They stand up for what they believe in and will not give up. An
example of this for Sydney Carton is when Lucy marries Charles Darnay. He does not end his love for her, his love continues on until the day he dies. An example for Mrs.Defarge's
strength is when she continues