A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

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Resurrection Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Secrecy and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate and History Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Resurrection Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Tale of Two Cities, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Resurrection Theme Icon

Closely connected to the theme of sacrifice is the promise of resurrection. Christianity teaches that Christ was resurrected into eternal life for making the ultimate sacrifice (his death) for mankind. Near the end of A Tale of Two Cities, Carton remembers a Christian prayer: "I am the resurrection and the life." As he goes to the guillotine to sacrifice himself, Carton has a vision of his own resurrection, both in heaven and on earth through Lucie and Charles's child, named Sydney Carton, whose life fulfills the original Carton's lost potential. Yet Carton's is not the only resurrection in the novel. After having been imprisoned for years, Dr. Manette is "recalled to life" by Lucie's love. Jerry Cruncher, meanwhile, works as a "resurrection man" stealing body parts from buried corpses, but by the end of the novel he gives it up in favor of praying for a holier resurrection of his own.

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Resurrection Quotes in A Tale of Two Cities

Below you will find the important quotes in A Tale of Two Cities related to the theme of Resurrection.
Book 1, Chapter 6 Quotes
If you hear in my voice … any resemblance to a voice that once was sweet music in your ears, weep for it, weep for it! If you touch, in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on your breast when you were young and free, weep for it, weep for it! If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it!
Related Characters: Lucie Manette (speaker), Dr. Alexandre Manette
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene of reunification between Manette and his daughter, the pathos of Manette's sorry condition joins with the bittersweet attitude of Lucie in finding her father, whom she long thought dead, alive but old and confused. Manette seems to have recognized something of his wife in Lucie, and Lucie clings to this possibility, suggesting that she has come, in a way, to replace her mother, and to offer her father a chance for a new life with her. By creating a correspondence between her own face and that of her mother, but also by making a contrast between Manette's former desolate home and the new, happy home that she hopes to make for him, Lucie stresses that it is possible to gain second chances.

For Lucie, it is as if her father had risen from the dead, since she never knew him to be alive. Learning of his presence is such a powerful feeling for her that it seems to be almost a miracle, spurring her to want to sacrifice anything for the sake of her father. This sentiment is only further prompted by her recognition of his prison-like environment, from which she hopes to rescue him.

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Book 2, Chapter 4 Quotes
Only his daughter had the power of charming this black brooding from his mind. She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always.
Related Characters: Dr. Alexandre Manette, Lucie Manette
Related Symbols: Knitting and the Golden Thread
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

Although Dr. Manette has been "resurrected" into new life by the care of his daughter Lucie, not all of the frightening power of his imprisonment has left him. He still tends to be brooding and gloomy, unable to entirely shake himself of the madness that had once enveloped his life. Still, he is clearly aware of and grateful for Lucie's strong-willed direction.

As a "golden thread," a charmed version of the threads woven by the Fates that direct our lives and the course of history, Lucie seems to possess the power to turn at least individual lives for the better, based only on her own love and commitment. Nonetheless, it is not yet clear whether or not Lucie's golden thread will prove more powerful than the Fates or history, or whether it is just one part of a greater universal plan, one in which her small actions ultimately cannot undo the all-powerful workings of Fate or history.

Book 2, Chapter 10 Quotes
He had loved Lucie Manette from the hour of his danger. He had never heard a sound so sweet and dear as the sound of her compassionate voice; he had never seen a face so tenderly beautiful, as hers when it was confronted with his own on the edge of the grave that had been dug for him.
Related Characters: Charles Darnay (a.k.a. Charles Evrémonde), Lucie Manette
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

Charles, having abandoned his aristocratic heritage, now lives in London and continues to be in love with Lucie, even going as far as to proclaim his love for her to her father. Here, we once again see the power that Lucie can hold over people. Charles is described as emerging out of a grave thanks to Lucie's beautiful face. Like Lucie's father, he feels that he is in some way raised from the dead thanks to the goodness that emanates from her. While Charles had all the riches he could have wanted thanks to his aristocratic family, for him such a heritage is confining far more than it is liberating – it is his love for Lucie that is freeing.

Book 2, Chapter 20 Quotes
My husband, it is so. I fear he is not to be reclaimed; there is scarcely a hope that anything in his character or fortunes is reparable now. But, I am sure that he is capable of good things, gentle things, even magnanimous things.
Related Characters: Lucie Manette (speaker), Charles Darnay (a.k.a. Charles Evrémonde), Dr. Alexandre Manette
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

Charles has spoken critically about Sydney Carton at dinner with the entire household that evening, and now, later at night and in private, Lucie gently reproves him for being overly harsh towards the man. Unlike Charles, Lucie is convinced that Carton may yet prove himself redeemable – he may yet have another, new life ahead of him.

Lucie is not overly naive or idealistic; she does, after all, acknowledge that Carton's past character and fortunes count a great deal against him. In that sense, he has created his own situation, and cannot be liberated from the choices he has made. At the same time, however, Lucie may well be thinking of the conversation she had with Carton, one that helped to convince her of his good intentions and possibility for redemption. It is also worth noting that in many cases in the novel it is Lucie's belief that someone can redeem themselves that allows that gives that person the strength to actually achieve redemption.

Book 3, Chapter 8 Quotes
Miss Pross recalled soon afterwards, and to the end of her life remembered, that as she pressed her hands on Sydney's arm and looked up in his face, imploring him to do no hurt to Solomon, there was a braced purpose in the arm and a kind of inspiration in the eyes, which not only contradicted his light manner, but changed and raised the man.
Related Characters: Sydney Carton, John Barsad (a.k.a Solomon Pross), Miss Pross
Page Number: 310
Explanation and Analysis:

Sydney Carton has appeared almost out of nowhere and has identified John Barsad to Jerry as Solomon Pross, an opportunistic man who has no principles and will easily betray one side to another. However, he is also the brother of Lucie's servant Miss Pross, and before dealing with Solomon, Carton escorts Miss Pross back home, showing himself to be gallant and polite.

Unlike Solomon, Carton understands that the bonds of family and love can be powerful, so he doesn't dismiss Miss Pross's entreaties to him not to hurt Solomon. Miss Pross is impressed by the inner light and inspiration that seem to emanate from Sydney Carton – a sense of the man that we haven't really seen in him earlier in the book. She does sense the contradiction of this light with his easygoing manner, but this only further makes her recognize how much he must have changed.

Book 3, Chapter 15 Quotes
"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."
Related Characters: Sydney Carton (speaker)
Page Number: 389
Explanation and Analysis:

Earlier, the narrator has suggested that the figure of the Christian cross, signifying forgiveness, resurrection, and sacrifice for a greater cause, has been replaced by the ruthless terror of the guillotine. Now, Sydney Carton's monumental sacrifice suggests that all is not lost. Here, Carton repeats lines spoken by Jesus in the New Testament Gospels, and also repeated at Sunday mass for Christians. As he comforts another woman sentenced to death, and prepares to die himself, he draws solace from these words of faith.

Carton shows himself committed to an alternative view of justice and redemption than that located in the indiscriminate violence of the revolution, and in so doing he offers the hope that a new life, even on Earth as well, might be possible. The novel has powerfully portrayed how violence leads only to more violence, how injustice leads to more injustice, in a kind of historical fate that is impossible to escape. But Carton's sacrifice, following the spirit of Jesus's long ago sacrifice, offers the possibility of a way to end that vicious cycle of violence, through the Christian ideals of forgiveness, mercy, love, and sacrifice.