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John Barsad and Monsieur Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities Essay

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A Tale of Two Cities, involves many complicated situations in which the characters must choose between chance or death, career or family, honor or revenge. As a result, ambiguity has evolved in multiple characters because of these difficult choices. Two prominently ambiguous characters are John Barsad and Monsieur Defarge. While Barsad recognizes the importance of career and honor, Defarge sees more prominence in family and revenge. John Barsad’s ambiguity is demonstrated by two contrasting qualities: devotion to his job as a spy and neglect for his family. His devotion to his job as an English spy causes him to appear as a heroic figure. In order to protect his identity, for instance, he accepted Sydney Carton’s offer to help…show more content…
Barsad’s heroic quality of devotion for his occupation combined with his cruel quality of neglect for his family causes Barsad to be interpreted as an ambiguous figure. Barsad’s ambiguity contributes to the theme of loyalty to the nation. His commitment to his job as an English spy demonstrates his loyalty to England. Barsad was faced with the situation of risking death or denouncing Carton to gain the upper hand in their “desperate game” (pg 311-312). He chose to risk death over gaining the upper hand because he would prefer to die as an honorable man of England who did his best to perform his duties for England rather than die as a coward who stood for himself. His decision indicates his devotion to England; he would give his life to England rather than save himself. Barsad’s neglect of his sister demonstrates another level of loyalty to the nation. He is more protective of his identity and his job than he is of his sister’s state of welfare. In this situation, he is faced with the situation of choosing two important aspects of life---his family or his pursuance of his career as an English spy. His cruel decision of his career portrays him to be a cold, heartless brother who does not deserve Ms. Pross’s love. However, this decision also illustrates his devotion to his country because he would be willing to put aside thoughts of his family to dedicate himself entirely to serving his nation. Monsieur Defarge is an ambiguous character because although he
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