A Tale of Two Cities Character Portrait: Gaspard. By Jordan Lawrence and Jacob Bonham. Quote. "Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from JACQUES“ (Book II, Chapter 9, Pg. 133)
A Tale of Two Cities Character Portrait: Gaspard
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"Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from JACQUES“ (Book II, Chapter 9, Pg. 133)
Traits revealed: Gaspard is a man characterized by his drive for revenge. The next time we see him in the book he is getting executed. Essentially, this quote encapsulates the character climax for Gaspard in this novel. It is the action that defines him and because of that we are forced to see a man driven to murder over the death of his child.
Dickens gives Gaspard one chief trait, his drive for revenge. He does this by only hinting rather than showing Gapard’s character and nature. Thus, the reader is forced to make conclusions based on remnants of Gaspard’s deeds, i.e. the note he leaves on the knife that killed the Marquis.
In this way, we only see one side of Gaspard, his need to avenge his son. Therefore, Gaspard is characterized by only one trait, hate, and becomes an emblem for the emotions of the peasants who will go on to facilitate the revolution.
Gaspard becomes a martyr for the French Revolution. His death is one of the catalyzing factors that incites the people to overthrow the social hierarchy.
His death incites the Defarges and encourages them to lead an attack on the Bastille.
In the scene of his execution Gaspard’s dead body is described as “poisoning the water”. The water represents the life of the people and the poison represents the dismay and turmoil they have in their lives. Since the water is poisoned, the people have no choice but to revolt because their very lives depend on it. The poison also represents the negative stigma of Gaspard’s death in the eyes of the people. His execution makes their hatred for the government even more potent.
Gaspard is akin to a match because his deed is the spark that ignites the fire of the revolution.
His qualities are incendiary. He does not look for peace, but instead tends toward destruction.
Finally, Gaspard represents fire because fire gives warmth and light and Gaspard lights the way to a new way of life for the disgruntled Parisian masses.
Gaspard can be compared to Inigo Montoya from both the novel and the film The Princess Bride.
Gaspard and Montoya are very similar and comparable:
Both men are characterized solely by the trait of revenge. It is what motivates their actions and it is the chief point of characterization for both characters.
Both men are trying to avenge the death of a loved one. Inigo is trying to avenge his father while Gaspard is trying to revenge his child.
Both men are intent on killing the man who wronged them.
Finally, both men are one-sided characters motivated solely by the thought of bringing death to those that wronged them.
In contrast, Inigo Montoya is working for his own benefit whereas Gaspard’s act fuel a fire greater than himself, a.k.a. the French Revolution.
Theme Song: What Goes Around Comes Around by Justin Timberlake