The significance of paradoxes should not go unrecognized. Not only are they a source of frustration, but more significantly, they challenge the reader to reevaluate the world around them. Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities clearly represents the effectiveness of paradoxes immediately in the first paragraph of a novel. The famous opening line reveals themes which include suffering, love, and tyranny, all of which become evident as the novel unfolds. However, the most prominent theme is sacrifice. The introduction, "It was the best of times" (Dickens 1) refers to the sacrificial acts of goodness in particular characters. In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay, Doctor Manette, and Sydney Carton effectively prove the notion that sacrifice is a crucial part of achieving happiness in life and the best way to express love for one another. .
Doctor Manette sacrifices his sanity by allowing his daughter Lucie to marry the nephew of his enemy. Charles is the successor to the title of Marquis St. Evremonde, the man who imprisoned Doctor Manette. Although he is greatly effected by his incarceration, Doctor Manette exclaims Lucie is "everything to me; more to me than suffering" (104), suggesting she is more important to him than his own life. Doctor Manette is aware that any reminder of his imprisonment will cause him to relapse into psychotic behavior, but understands his daughter's happiness is more important. To ensure Lucie will not worry about her father, Doctor Manette asks Charles to wait until after the wedding for more details of the succession. Unlike Doctor .
Manette's mental sacrifices, Charles Darnay, another significant character, makes sacrifices which are physical.
On two occasions, Charles sacrifices his freedom as he attempts to help people his family has victimized. First, he tries to assist a woman in England harmed by his family. Later, he attempts to help his family's injured servant in France.