In his youth, Sydney Carton wasted his great potential and mysteriously lost a woman he loved. Now he's a drunk and a lawyer who takes no credit for his work. Carton has no hope for his life. Only Lucie understands his potential for goodness. In his selfless dedication to her and her family, Carton represents the transformative power of love. His self-sacrifice at the end of the novel makes him a Christ figure. By saving Lucie's family, Carton redeems himself from sin and lives on in their grateful memory.
The A Tale of Two Cities quotes below are all either spoken by Sydney Carton or refer to Sydney Carton. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of A Tale of Two Cities published in 2003.).
Book 2, Chapter 5 Quotes
Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance. In the fair city of this vision, there were airy galleries from which the loves and graces looked upon him, gardens in which the fruits of life hung ripening, waters of Hope that sparkled in his sight. A moment, and it was gone. Climbing to a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears.
Book 2, Chapter 13 Quotes
For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you. Try to hold me in your mind, at some quiet times, as ardent and sincere in this one thing. The time will come, the time will not be long in coming, when new ties will be formed about you […] O Miss Manette, […] when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!
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.
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."
The timeline below shows where the character Sydney Carton appears in A Tale of Two Cities. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 2
...French spy, is defended by two lawyers: Mr. Stryver and the insolent and bored-looking Mr. Carton. When Darnay glances at a young woman and her father sitting nearby (Lucie and Dr.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
...while Mr. Stryver is unsuccessfully cross-examining a witness who has been called to identify Charles, Carton hands Stryver a note. After reading from the note, Stryver forces the court to notice... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4
Book 2, Chapter 5
...to climb the professional ladder. Due to his problem distilling information, he partnered with Sydney Carton, who now secretly does all the work for Stryver to win his cases. If Stryver... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
Book 2, Chapter 10
...Manettes' home and bind Lucie closer to her father. Dr. Manette suspects that Stryver and Carton are also interested in Lucie, but promises to vouch for Charles's love for Lucie should... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
Book 2, Chapter 13
Book 2, Chapter 20
...first person to visit Lucie and Charles after they return from their honeymoon is Sydney Carton. Carton apologizes for his drunkenness during past encounters, and asks for Charles' friendship. Carton declares... (full context)
At dinner that night, Charles comments to Lucie, Manette, Mr. Lorry, and Miss Pross about Carton's careless and reckless behavior. Later that night in their room, Lucie suggests that Charles was... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 21
Book 3, Chapter 8
Book 3, Chapter 9
Book 3, Chapter 11
Book 3, Chapter 12
Book 3, Chapter 13
Book 3, Chapter 15