A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

Sacrifice

Quotes Sacrifice
“This property and France are lost to me,” said the nephew, sadly; “I renounce them.”… “—I would abandon it, and live otherwise and elsewhere. It is little to relinquish. What is it but a wilderness of misery and ruin?”

Charles Darnay says this to his uncle at their family chateau. Darnay gives up the land and his station as marquis upon his uncle’s death, because he regrets the evils his family has perpetrated in the name of wealth and status. Although Darnay describes this sacrifice as “little to relinquish,” we know he is in fact giving up a great deal of wealth. However, this seems little to him as he does not want to be associated with his family’s past.

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.

Sydney Carton declares this to Lucie Manette after he confesses his love for her, adding that he knows he is not worthy of her love. Despite this, Carton makes clear that he would make any sacrifice for her or her family. In the end, he keeps this promise by making the ultimate sacrifice for Lucie’s happiness. This is but one example of how characters throughout the novel show love, courage, and honor through self-sacrifice.

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.

Sydney Carton repeats these words to himself the night before he trades places with Darnay at the prison. Here, Carton compares himself to Jesus, another man who sacrificed himself to save others. Carton knows his actions will bring an essentially dead man, Darnay, back to life, and ensure lifelong happiness for Lucie and her family. Among the sacrifices the characters make in this novel, Carton’s is the greatest, and he feels at peace with his choice because he finally feels his life is worth something.