A Tale of Two Cities Literary Conflict | Have students identify and illustrate different types of literary conflict in A Tale of Two Cities
MAN vs MAN
Madame Defarge doesn’t just seek revenge on Charles and his uncle and father; she also wishes to make sure that his wife and daughter are eliminated. She takes a gun and goes to their lodging in Paris, but Miss Pross is the only one there. Miss Pross keeps Mme. Defarge from opening a door in the house, so Mme. Defarge attacks her. When she reaches into her dress and pulls out a gun, Miss Pross grabs her wrist and the gun goes off, killing Mme. Defarge.
MAN vs SELF
Sydney Carton is a lonely, unhappy man who seems to be in a deep depression about his life and what could have been different. He bears a strong resemblance to Charles Darnay, and often wistfully compares himself to Charles’ successes. He believes that Lucie could make him whole, but she does not love him the way that he loves her. He swears he will do anything for her or for those dear to her, a promise which he fulfills when he sacrifices his life for Charles.
MAN vs SOCIETY
Darnay was taken away from his father by his mother many years before because of the atrocities his father and uncle committed. He views his family name as a source of shame, and he renounces it and his inheritance to his uncle later on. However, he is still a member of the aristocracy in the French peasants’ eyes, and there is no place for him to return when he comes back to try to save Gabelle. While he is accepted in England, his family’s crimes cannot be forgiven in France.