Charles Darnay is a hero in "A Tale of Two Cities" because of his renouncement of old aristocracy and unwillingness to do anything less then honorable. He perceives the evils of the state into which he was born and, by an act of will, severs himself from it. Thereafter Darnay strives toward and meets his obligation to humanity, and endures his tribulation with heroic dignity.
The incident that has the most influence on this characterization as a hero is when Darnay says "This property and France are lost to me, I renounce them" (153). He then flees to England in order to escape his family's shame and forsake his role in the oppression of the French peasant class. By renouncing his inheritance and family name, Darnay heroically gives up a life of nobility for one of the common class.
Darnay exhibits an admirable honesty in his decision to reveal to doctor Manette his true identity as a member of the infamous Evremonde family (168).
This confession could well have caused the good doctor to turn down Darnay's proposal to marry his daughter. By offering to tell Lucie's father this secret (one Manette had already figured out), Darnay exhibits the heroic tendency to tell the truth even when faced with possible consequences.
Darnay further proves himself as a hero when he makes a decision to return to Paris to save his imprisoned friend Gabelle (301). This is done at great personal risk to Darnay because at this time France is in the throes of a civil war. As a matter of fact, this decision landed Darnay in jail and led to his being sentenced to execution, a fate he only narrowly avoided (441).
Darnay's heroic tendencies always come through in A Tale of Two Cities. He renounced his...