Throughout history, the powers of love and hate have constantly been engaged in a battle for superiority. Time and time again, love has proven to be stronger than hate, and has been able to overcome all of the obstacles that have stood in the way from it reaching its goal. On certain occasions, though, hate has been a viable foe and defeated love when they have clashed. In the novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens presents several different power struggles between love and hate.
One of the more famous power struggles takes place between Miss Pross and Madame Defarge, towards the end of the novel. When Madame Defarge, who because of her evil nature and devilish appearance is compared to “the wife of Lucifer”, appears at the Manettes’ residence to accuse the remaining members of the household of ridiculous crimes, she is confronted by Miss Pross. The result is a struggle between these two magnificent women, who are complete opposites of each other: “It was in vain for Madame Defarge to struggle and to strike; Miss Pross, with the vigorous tenacity of love, always so much stronger than hate, clasped her tight” (p. 360). Miss Pross loves Lucie with all her heart and would never allow any harm to come to her. Madame Defarge, on the other hand, does not just hate Lucie, but she hates the Manettes and all Evremondes. One would think that such a strongly fueled hatred would permit Madame Defarge to overpower Miss Pross, but, as the reader finds out, Miss Pross’ determination to keep her darling “Ladybird” safe, from any harm that might come to her or her family, allows her to overpower and kill her enemy. This time, the power of good overcomes the power of evil due to Miss Pross’ true love and dedication for Lucie.
Another struggle between love and hate can be found within Monsieur Defarge. In this particular case, it is evil that eventually triumphs. Monsieur Defarge can be considered a true revolutionary, as his actions prove throughout the novel: ” and still Defarge of the wine – shop at his gun, grown doubly hot by the service of four fierce hours” (p. 215). Monsieur Defarge tirelessly works alongside his fellow revolutionaries to defeat the aristocracy that has treated his countrymen so harshly. His commitment to the French Revolution gives him grounds to support the death of Charles Darnay, but, unlike his wife, Monsieur Defarge shows love for his friend, Doctor Manette, and his friend’s family. He does not want to see any of them, except for Charles Darnay, harmed or executed. Even before the French Revolution begins, Monsieur Defarge wishes that it will not involve Doctor Manette and his family: “- and if it does come while we live to see it triumph – I hope, Destiny will keep them Darnay and the Manettes out of France” (p.186). The struggle between love and hate that exists here is Monsieur Defarge trying to find a way to stay loyal to both his countrymen and his friend. Defarge chooses to try and persuade his wife to just let the Manettes go, since they have not actually committed any crimes. When Monsieur Defarge’s attempts at trying to change his wife’s mind fail, he simply gives up and does not even try to save the Manettes in any other way. Senior Defarge is influenced so much by his surroundings that he starts to believe that there is no way he can help his friend. Because of this Monsieur Defarge ends his dilemma the easy way – by not doing anything.
In today’s society, the power struggles between good and evil, and love and hate has almost always been balanced. Like the day and the night, or the yin and the yang; love and hate, and good and evil have found a way to peacefully coexist in today’s world. Although sometimes the power is unequal, the balance is usually quickly restored and only minimal damage results from this unbalance.