Charles Darnay

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Charles Darnay
By Eric Miller
(All page references for quotes are in regard to the version published by Signet Classics)
Charles Darnay Traits
“But I love her. Heaven is my witness that I love her! . . .
But, do not believe that if my fortune were so cast as that,
being one day so happy as to make her my wife, I must at
any time put any separation between her and you, I could
or would breathe a word of what I now say. Besides that I
should know it to be hopeless, I should know it to be a
baseness. If I had any such possibility, even at a remote
distance of years, harbored in my thoughts, and hidden in
my heart –if it ever had been there – if it ever could be
there – I could not know it as he spoke” (2,11,139).
Charles Darnay Traits
Darnay exemplifies the ideal of a “good man;” he is
gentlemanly, kind, deferential, passionate, loving, virtuous,
righteous, mindful, driven, moral, and conscious of social
inequity. This is reflected in his sensitivity to the
relationship between Doctor Mannette and Lucie. He
understands what Doctor Mannette means to Lucie, and
though Darnay loves her dearly, he would never in way
damage the relationship between the Doctor and Lucie
(even if it means that Darnay can’t be with Lucie).
Charles Darnay -- Literary
Devices
Literary Devices include: repetition, a run-on sentence, and
imagery.
The repetition of “love” with exclamatory punctuation
reveals the deepness of Darnay’s feelings for Lucie. The
second sentence is a run-on sentence; he is expressing a
concept that is difficult for him to speak. Normally Darnay
speaks in full grammatically correct sentences. He wants to
be with Lucie, but knows that Lucie and the Doctor’s
relationship is so important to them that he cannot in any
way -- in good faith -- interfere with it.
Charles Darnay -- Literary
Devices
When Dickens introduces Darnay, he describes
Darnay’s physical characteristics. The words used invoke a
somber mood. He is described as singularly dark – “with a
sunburnt cheek and a dark eye . . . plainly dressed in black,
or very dark gray, and his hair, which was long and dark. As
an emotion of the mind will express itself through any
covering of the body, so the paleness which his situation
engendered came through the brown upon his cheek,
showing the soul to be stronger than the sun” (2,2,67).
This description is also emblematic of his character. Darnay
is boring, he lacks color, just as black lacks the brightness
of the other colors.
Charles Darnay Function:
Embodiment
Besides functioning as the embodiment of a “good man,”
Darnay also serves as an example of a true aristocrat.
Unlike the horribly corrupt, immoral, self-serving, decadent,
Monsieur the Marquis and the rest of the French aristocracy,
Darnay is conscious of the plights that face each of the
social classes. He actually retains the ability to empathize
with people.
Charles Darnay Function:
Protagonist
In some ways, Charles Darnay is the protagonist of the
novel; he serves as the catalyst for change within and
advancement of the novel. It is the knowledge of Darnay’s
family name that causes Doctor Mannette to relapse. As a
result, after Mannette pulls himself back to reality, he
becomes non-static. Mannette (albeit somewhat unwillingly
at first) allows Lorry to destroy the shoemaking tools. This
serves as the first major step towards a complete and
lasting restoration of the “Doctor of Beauvais.” Furthermore,
Darnay drives the events of the rest of the novel after he
decides to risk life and limb to help Gabelle in France.
Charles Darnay Function: Foil
Darnay also serves largely as a foil. Dickens uses the
respective ways in which Darnay and Mr. Stryver attempt to
court Lucie to compare them. While Darnay is a perfect
gentleman, Stryver is ironically called “the fellow of
Delicacy,” because he is not. Charles Darnay and Sydney
Carton also serve as foils for each other. They function as
each other’s mirror (both literally as they look almost
identical and figuratively as foils). Darnay is a flat, boring,
perfect man who has it all. Carton on the other hand, is a
significantly more dynamic, interesting, relatable, flawed
man who has nothing.
Charles Darnay Function: Foil
Part Two
They bring to mind the age old “Nature vs. Nurture” debate.
They are for all intents and purposes identical physically.
They were born of the same clay, but molded by their social
classes into their ultimate destines. Where Darnay is the
“Perfect Hero,” Carton is the “Byronic Hero.”
Song: "Simple Man“ By
Lynard Skynard
White=Lyrics
Orange=Annotations
Mama told me when I was young
One could almost see Darnay’s mother talking
to him when he was young about how to live his
life. She is the only family member he seems to embrace
in any way, illustrated by the fact that he takes her name. However, he
doesn’t embrace her fully as he still changes the name to a degree. “My
present name, though but slightly changed from my mother’s,
is not, as you will remember, my own” (2,10,142).
Come sit beside me, my only son
At least through the end of Book the Second,
Darnay never references any siblings.
Song: "Simple Man“ By
Lynard Skynard
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.
Take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
This line rings especially true for Darnay as he faces many problems
(not least among them being tried for treason) and yet somehow skates by.
Go find a woman and you'll find love,
He found Lucie Mannette.
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.
While there are no references to Darnay being particularly religious or
spiritual, one can safely assume he is a Christian as he lives during the
French Revolution. Many of the ideas and “The Declaration of the Rights of
Man and of the Citizen” which fueled the Revolution were based on Christian
values.
Song: "Simple Man“ By
Lynard Skynard
[Chorus:]
And be a simple kind of man.
Darnay is a rather simple, static, virtuous man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son,
If you can?
Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
“This property and France are lost to me, I renounce them” (2,9,130).
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.
Darnay lives a rather happy and satisfied life with Lucie until he receives the
letter from Gabelle.
Song: "Simple Man“ By
Lynard Skynard
[Chorus]
Boy, don't you worry.
You'll find yourself.
Follow your heart,
He follows his heart and moral conscience to France.
and nothing else.
He doesn’t let the dangers of Revolutionary France or his desire to be with
his family stop him from following his heart.
You can do this,
if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
is to be satisfied.
[Chorus]
Song: "Simple Man“ By
Lynard Skynard
Full Unannotated Lyrics:
"Simple Man"
Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.
Take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.
[Chorus:]
And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son,
If you can?
Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.
[Chorus]
Boy, don't you worry.
You'll find yourself.
Follow you heart,
and nothing else.
You can do this,
if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
is to be satisfied.
[Chorus]
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