Character Analysis Charles Darnay


Although Darnay rejects the Evrémonde name and inheritance and moves to England, he cannot escape his family history. Trying to make amends to an unknown woman whose family was wiped out by his father and uncle, he is arrested for treason in England; trying to save a jailed family servant, he is arrested in revolutionary France, where he is tried twice. His sense of responsibility motivates him to right wrongs, but he is otherwise a passive character who lets events direct his fate rather than trying to control it himself. Forces outside of his control inevitably foil even his attempts to assert himself and atone for his family's transgressions, placing him in increasingly dangerous situations from which he must be rescued.

Darnay represents justice and duty, qualities inherited from his mother. He (and his mother) also stands for the members of the French aristocracy who were aware of the damage their families were inflicting, but who could do nothing to prevent it. Darnay's willingness to atone for his family's wrongs and to work for a living demonstrate that eventually something good can come out of evil, a point that Dickens emphasizes at the end of the novel.