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Revenge is the
action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered
at their hands and justice, the use of power as appointed by law, honor, or
standards to support fair treatment and due reward. Generally, one uses justice
as a reason for one revenge or retaliation. This is the case in “The Tale of
Two Cities” and “The Study in Scarlet”, where some characters use
justice as a reason of their revenge. In this essay, we will talk about some
similarities as to justice and revenge in both books and how the characters in those
books rely on justice to justify their actions.

            After reading these two novels, we
can notice that there are some similarities among some characters. In the
Tale of two Cities, two people are seeking for justice and revenge: Madame
Defarges and Gaspard, and in A Study of Scarlet, Jefferson Hope is the one
looking for revenge and justice. It is important to note that there are some
similarities between these three characters. The first thing that they have in
common is that they suffered from the loss of a relative due to murder. In A
Tale of the Two Cities, Madame Defarges suffered the rape of her sister and
the murder of his brother by the Evremonde brothers. Gaspard’s son was killed
by the Marquis’ carriage and the Marquis didn’t show any compassion. In A
Study of Scarlet, Jefferson Hope is seeking for revenge for the death of
his fiancée Lucy and the murder of his father-in-law to be John Ferrier by
Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson. However, unlike to Gaspard and Jefferson
Hope who are after the real perpetrators, Madame Defarges, as for her is not after
the real responsible of her brother’s murder and her sister’s rape, but she
after the family members

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(Darnay, Lucie,
and the little Lucy) of the latter, whose she also held responsible of their forefather’s
acts.

The second
similarity in both books is the change of the personality. After the oppression
and the personal tragedy, she has suffered at the hands of the Evremonde
brothers, she became a cold, merciless, and dark person, only animated by the
hate and the destruction of the Evremode. Her tireless thirst of revenge and
justice turns her into a blood-thirsty person, who doesn’t know where to set
the boundaries and no one seems to stop her. As matter of fact, she said: “tell
the wind to stop, not me (354).” This shows how inhuman she has become and is
also recognized as a sheer force of the nature. Jefferson Hope on the other
hand was a young normal, and strong man with a normal life and job like any
others, but who’s the death of Lucy and Ferrier and the thirst of vengeance has
turned into an outlaw and “human hunter,” chasing the perpetrator of his
relatives’ death from Salt Lake City all the way to St Petersburg and to London,
abandoning his job. Moreover, like Madame Defarges, nothing seems to stop him.
Not even the lack of information or the lack of money or even the time deters
him. Those are some important things that these characters have in common in
both novels. Now that we have noted some similarities between some characters
in both novels, the next question that comes in mind is to know what is the
meaning of the justice for those characters and do they use justice to justify
their actions.

As defined
earlier, justice is the use of power as appointed by law, honor or standard to
support to support fair treatment and due reward, as well as punish the
responsible. As we can see in this definition, only someone appointed by the
law is entitled to enforce justice.

 

However, it is
not always the case and people sometimes decide to defy or disregard the law by
putting their own perception of justice on top of the law. In A Tale of Two
Cities, Madame Defarges sees the rape of her sister and the murder of her
brother, not as a crime whose the Evremonde brothers are the sole responsible,
but she blames the entire Evremonde family for that, including Charles Darnay
and everyone related to him, such as Lucy and their daughter, the little Lucy.
She says: “I care nothing for this doctor. He may wear his head or lose it, for
any interest I have in him, it is all one to me. but the Evremonde people are
to be exterminated and the wife and child must follow the husband.” (372-373).
Her sense of justice doesn’t pay attention to the actual perpetrators, but holds
innocent responsible just because they are in some ways related to the real
perpetrators. She considered Charles Darnays as just as guilty as his father
and his uncle, even though he has no idea of what happened to her family. As
mentioned in the book, “it was nothing to her that an innocent man was to die
for the sins of his forefathers, she saw, not him, but them. It was nothing to
her, that his wife was to be made a widow, and his daughter an orphan, that
insufficient punishment, because they were her natural enemies and her prey and
as such had no right to live.” (376). For Madame Defarge, justice does pays
attention, not only to the real perpetrators of those crime, the Evremonde
brothers, but to the entire Evremonde family. Though, unlike Madame Defarge,
Jefferson Hope in A Study of Scarlet holds only Enoch Drebber and Joseph
Stangerson, responsible of the death and the murder of Lucy and John Ferrier
and doesn’t find their families and relatives also guilty for that. Like Madame
Defarge, Hope uses a retributive justice in the sense that he too decides to
avenge the death of Lucy and John Ferrier by chasing the offenders for justice
himself. He considers himself, not only as an “officer” as Holmes and Lestrade,
but also as judge, jury, and executioner, because he believed that too much
time has passed, since the crimes have been committed and the law will not be
able to find both Drebber and Stangerson guilty of those crimes and punish them
accordingly. Hope also relies on divine justice to justify his action. As he
said to Enoch Drebber: “let the high God judges between us. Choose and eat.
There is death in one and life in the other. I shall take what you leave. Let
us see if there is justice upon the earth, or if we are rule by chance (119).”
By proceeding that way, Hope takes the risk to die if he is the one to choose
the poisoned pill. However, since he is confident that God will not allow the
criminal or the offender to go unpunished and will make him choose the poisoned
pill, he is confident. And when Drebber chose the poisoned pill and died, he
was sure that the divine justice has been made.

Personally, I
think both novels condemn the characters who seek for revenge. Jefferson Hope
chased Drebber and Stangerson for many decades and from Salt Lake City to
London and finally killed them, avenging therefore the dead of Lucy and John
Ferrier. However, despite this successful revenge, which makes him happy (he
was found dead with a “placid smile” on his face) and proud, his obsession for
revenge destroyed him and his health and caused an aortic aneurysm that killed
him only days after he was imprisoned. So, although Hope got want he was
wanted, the revenge, but I think his death was a punishment for seeking justice
by himself.

Madame Defarge in
the other hand spent the rest of life seeking for revenge and trying to
exterminate the whole Evremonde family by any means to avenge her sister and
brother. But at the end her family revenge was unsuccessful, Darnay who was
sentenced to death was replaced by Sydney Carlton who managed to get Darnay out
of France and died in his place and she died, kill by a bullet from her own gun
during a fight with Miss Pross. Her death by a bullet from her own gun is a
proof that the author didn’t agree with her sense of justice and has decided to
punish her. This leads to question to know whether a certain kind of justice is
more important to another. Well, Jefferson Hope got aortic aneurysm which later
killed him, when he decided to seek for justice himself. However, when he
relied to Divine justice by making Drebber choose between the poisoned pill and
the non-poisoned one, it worked. Madame Defarge also decided to become the
avenger of the family and to render justice by herself and at the end was
killed by her own gun. With these evidences we can say that the divine justice
is more preferable than the others.

In Summary, we
said that people use justice as a reason to look for revenge or retaliation. We
used some characters in The Tale of Two cities and in A Study in
Scarlet to justify our claim. We show some similarities between those
characters, we also showed how those characters use the idea of justice to
justify their actions, and how the novels condemn them. After all this, our
thought is justice should never be used as a justification of revenge. Only
people appointed by the law should be entitled to render justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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