In Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale Of Two Cities, Sydney Carton is a man of several distinct characteristics.  Carton is shown originally to be a frustrated alcoholic but then turns out to be a very noble and genuine man.  Sydney Carton is also shown in the novel to be somewhat immature in his actions and thoughts.

Throughout the book, Sydney Carton does not always act or seem like he is the age that he is.  He is depicted in the novel to be middle-aged, perhaps in his mid-forties, yet several times he shows some very immature actions and feelings.  One example is his feelings for Lucie Manette.  Even after Lucie is married to Charles Darnay, whom she loves, Sydney refuses to give up his love for her.  For someone in his mid-forties, this is somewhat an immature action. 

Had he been more mature, he might have forgotten about Lucie when she was married and found someone else.  Another perhaps less important but very noticeable example is his appearance.  He didn’t seem to care what people really thought about him or the way he was dressed and remained very calm and relaxed, maybe even carefree, most of the time he was in court.  This also gives Sydney Carton an immature appearance in the novel.

At the beginning of the story and a large part of the novel, Sydney Carton is shown to be a very arrogant, frustrated man with a drinking problem.  Several times in the novel he indulged in his drinking to the point of becoming drunk or close to it.  Many times that he is seen, he is drinking wine or has a flask of liquor in his hand. 

This may keep him calm or help him to remain composed in the court, but it becomes more to the point of being a necessity or habit.  Also, his drinking causes him to lose his tongue when he is with Charles Darnay after the trial, which makes Charles angry with him.  This behavior was very ill-mannered and could have been prevented to give Sydney Carton a better appearance and attitude.

Later in the novel, towards the end, Sydney seems to change his personality and attitude toward life and actually shows some noble characteristics.  When Sydney talks to Lucie alone, he seems very sincere and noble with his comment about sacrificing himself for her. 

This is very different from his selfish attitude he had before.  At the end of the novel, Sydney’s act of sacrificing himself showed honor, courage, and a heart of love for Lucie, as well as for Charles.  Sydney also shows very admirable characteristics when he helps the innocent woman at the guillotine.  His personality totally changed throughout the novel to become a very selfless, caring person.

A Tale Of Two Cities shows Sydney Carton to have very many characteristics, both noble and some unpleasant.  He is originally a confused, self-caring alcoholic, then changes to truly care for people, and to sacrifice his life for his love.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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