A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens begins the novel with oxymorons. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishnessâ€¦” 7. This beginning of the first paragraph is a great way to begin a book full of doubles and a Doppelganger effect since the words contradict each other just like the different doubles and parallels in this book. Contradicting characters are not only presented, places are as well. Five different parallels or twins in this book consist of Darnay vs. EvrÃ©monde, Darnay vs. Mr.
Manette, “sane” Mr. Manette vs. “insane” Mr. Manette, John Barsad vs. Pross, and London vs. Paris. An example of the Doppelganger effect is the fact that Charles Darnay and Charles EvrÃ©monde are/is the same exact person. When Charles Darnay moves to England, he changes his last name since he doesn’t like to be carried with the name. He is a double character given that in England â€“ he’s known as Charles Darnay, but in France â€“ he’s known as Charles EvrÃ©monde. “A man with a bloated face opened the strong wicket, to whom Defarge presented ‘The Emigrant EvrÃ©monde'” 259.
Although this is true, Darnay has another double â€“ Mr. Manette. Mr. Manette and Darnay were both two men that were imprisoned unfairly; though not at the same time. Mr. Manette was imprisoned by the Marquis, Charles Darnay’s uncle, because Mr. Manette tried to report the Marquis’ and his brother’s evil treatment of the poor family. But the Marquis threw him in the Bastille for a dreadful 18 years. Mr. Manette went crazy in there and over time believed he was a shoemaker, but was later “resurrected” by Mr. Lorry and Lucie.
Darnay was imprisoned in France just because he was an emigrant, someone who leaves one country to settle in another. Not only was Mr. Manette a double to Charles, but to himself as well. Mr. Manette swaps from the insane Mr. Manette that believes he’s a lady’s shoemaker and the sane Mr. Manette that loves Lucie. When the book first presents us to Mr. Manette, he is not well and sane because of the 18 years spent in the Bastille. He talks as if he was just learning the English language and has a hard time focusing on what people say.
‘You are still hard at work, I see? ‘ After a long silence, the head was lifted for another moment, and the voice replied, ‘Yes â€“ I am working'” 43. Five years later, Mr. Manette is presented once again, but now he’s in good health and sane in Old Bailey. “â€¦he looked as if he were old; but when it was stirred and broken up â€“ as it was now in a moment, on his speaking to his daughter â€“ he became a handsome man, not past the prime of life” 69. Besides Charles Darnay and Mr. Manette, John Barsad and Solomon Pross are/is also double characters.
John Barsad is first introduced in Old Bailey as a patriot. He testifies against Charles Darnay in England before fleeing to France, to avoid persecution in England. When Barsad is in France, we find out that his true identity is Solomon Pross, Miss Pross’ good-for-nothing brother. With all this in mind, there is one last double or parallel to explain, and it’s that London and Paris are both dangerous cities. In London, there are highway men that are out to get you. “Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every nightâ€¦” 8.
While in Paris, there are problems with the revolution and nobility. Noblemen entering France were most likely to be sent to the guillotine because of the Revolution. All in all, London vs. Paris, John Barsad vs. Solomon Pross, Sane Mr. Manette vs. Insane Mr. Manette, Charles Darnay vs. Mr. Manette, and Charles Darnay vs. Charles EvrÃ©monde are 5 different examples of doubles or parallels in A Tale of Two Cities.
London and Paris are both dangerous cities to be in, although with different reasons. John Barsad and Solomon Pross are the same character that’s Miss Pross’s brother. Mr. Manette was a parallel to himself because he was sane most of the time, but at times he was insane. Mr. Manette was also a double to Charles Darnay for both characters had been imprisoned unfairly. Charles Darnay or Charles EvrÃ©monde are/is the same person, but is known with different last names in England and France. All of these doubles/parallels are apart of the magnificent Doppelganger effect. This novel gradually revealed every one of the true doubles in the book which is what made this book such a challenge and delight to read. All this talk about doubles is making me see them inside my head.