In every piece of literature, there is always an element that causes the plot to progress and roll on. It may be the heroic epic, a dynamic change in character, or the battle of good versus evil. However, in Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities, the key element is the way characters sacrifice their time and even their lives. Sacrifice by the major character Sydney Carlton allowed the plot to exist and run in the novel. As the novel opened in the first book, a court case emerges and a trial is being held. It is in this case that the plot unfolds with the entrance of the primary characters.
The defendant’s name, which is also a primary character, is Charles Darnay. Most of the conflicts throughout the novel evolve around Darnay and it is for this reason that he must be freed and proven innocent. However, his lawyer named Stryver is doing a horrible job and it seems likely that he is going to lose. It is here when Sydney Carlton comes in to help the case. He argues that he can also be the culprit because he resembles the defendant. This overrules the prosecution’s argument of identifying Darnay as the supposed spy.
If it were not for the sacrifice time and effort placed in by Carlton, then Darnay would have been jailed, thus killing the plot. Carlton’s sacrifice to help allows the story to continue. The plot does not revolve around Darnay. It also revolves around Carlton’s personality and how he changes as a dynamic character. In the beginning, Carlton is seen as a lazy, alcoholic attorney who does not appreciate his life. He is very negative, has no hope, and feels that he is worthless. Carlton is also one who hides away his feelings and is very shy. However, as the piece continues, Carlton begins to change his attitude.
He admits later on the deep feelings that he has for one named Lucie Manette. These feelings will cause him to grow bolder and evolve away from negativity. It will eventually lead to the biggest sacrifice in the story. When Carlton hears of someone trying to kill the one he loves most, Lucie, he decides to sacrifice himself to save her. This sacrifice allows the plot to roll on because it concludes Carlton’s dynamic change. He began as one who was worthless to becoming someone who is very valuable. His sacrifice at the guillotine allowed him to establish his life’s great worth.
By choosing to die for his friends, Carlton is able to secure Lucie’s life and happiness as well as his own worth. Many key elements exist in all pieces of literature. Some are easy to point out, while others are very complex with detail. In Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, the key element was sacrifice. The sacrifice by Sydney Carlton allowed the plot to be established and eventually concluded. It allowed for the story to exist and for the characters to be developed. Dickens used an unordinary element in this piece, but it still produced the same strong impact and effect as all other key elements.