A Tale of Two Cities


Set during the French Revolution a young man called Charles who was accused of being a traitor and a spy. A women named Lucie and her father named Dr. Manette are witnesses for the prosecution. Lucie stresses the good qualities of the accused while imparting her testimony. They are waiting for the death sentence to be pronounced, however it is Sydney Carton, an advocate present in the courtroom, who points out the resemblance between the prisoner and himself to the defense lawyer Mr. Stryver. The jury thus realizes that it could be a case of mistaken identity, and Darnay is acquitted. Charles moves to England which later on marries his wife named Lucie to start a new life. Charles goes back to France upon receiving a letter then upon arriving he gets arrested for the crimes his family committed Charles tried to explain he was nothing like his family the court still finds him guilty and sentences him to the guillotine he then is saved by his friend Sydney Carton who gives his life for Charles.


  • Dr. Manette: A French physician who is imprisoned for eighteen years in the Bastille as the novel begins he was imprisoned by the Marquis St. Evremonde. There is a mystery of his imprisonment which creates tension throughout the book. Throughout the book he is an ambitious doctor, a prisoner who craves revenge and who descends into madness, and a man who fights to regain his mind, his family and his profession. His life after prison is a struggle. The love he has for his daughter Lucie who rescued him and nursed back to health, helps him to overcome the darkness in his life. By the end he helps her to save her Lucie’s husband Darnay. ‘Did you ask me for my name?’ ‘Assuredly I did.’ ‘One Hundred and Five, North Tower.’ ‘Is that all?’ ‘One Hundred and Five, North Tower.’ (page # 59). But not for long. Releasing his arm, she laid her hand upon his shoulder. After looking doubtfully at it, two or three times, as if to be sure that it was really there, he laid down his work, put his hand to his neck, and took off a blackened string with a scrap of folded rag attached to it. He opened this, carefully, on his knee, and it contained a very little quantity of hair: not more than one or two long golden hairs, which he had, in some old day, wound off upon his finger. He took her hair into his hand again, and looked closely at it. ‘It is the same. How can it be! When was it! How was it!’ ( page # 62). If you hear in my voice … any resemblance to a voice that once was sweet music in your ears, weep for it, weep for it! If you touch, in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on your breast when you were young and free, weep for it, weep for it! If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it! (page # 64). Only his daughter had the power of charming this black brooding from his mind. She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always. (page # 111).
  • Charles Darnay: The main character of the novel, Darnay is a good man who rejects the Evermonde name and inheritance and moves to England which he prefers to earn an honest living as a tutor. He is arrested in revolutionary France where he is tried twice. When being falsely accused during the Reign of Terror he was saved from the guillotine by Carton. Throughout the book he lets events direct his fate rather than to control it himself. He and his mother stand for the member of the French aristocracy who were aware of the damage their families were inflicting, but who could not do nothing to prevent it. Who then marries a women named Lucie who is daughter to a man name Dr. Manette who was imprisoned for 18 years by Marquis St. Evremonde. The sort of interest with which this man was stared and breathed at, was not a sort that elevated humanity … The form that was to be doomed to be so shamefully mangled, was the sight; the immortal creature that was to be so butchered and torn asunder, yielded the sensation. Whatever gloss the various spectators put upon the interest, according to their several arts and powers of self-deceit, the interest was, at the root of it, Ogreish. (page # 86). "Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts out the sky." (page # 174). He had loved Lucie Manette from the hour of his danger. He had never heard a sound so sweet and dear as the sound of her compassionate voice; he had never seen a face so tenderly beautiful, as hers when it was confronted with his own on the edge of the grave that had been dug for him. (page # 184). Not a mean village closed upon him, not a common barrier dropped across the road behind him, but he knew it to be another iron door in the series that was barred between him and England. The universal watchfulness so encompassed him, that if he had been taken in a net, or were being forwarded to his destination in a cage, he could not have felt his freedom more completely gone. (page # 351)
  • Sydney Carton: A clever attorney who resembles Darnay in appearance and alter-ego. Carton wastes his life by drinking and idling. He makes his intelligence obvious through his ability to analyze cases for Stryver. Besides some unclear reference to his student days and the disclosure that his parents died when he was young, Carton’s past stays a mystery. His love for Lucie is the only bright spot in his life. He is a man of word and courage. His love for Lucie is strong enough that he fulfills his promise by sacrificing his life for Darnay's. Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honorable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance. In the fair city of this vision, there were airy galleries from which the loves and graces looked upon him, gardens in which the fruits of life hung ripening, and waters of Hope that sparkled in his sight. A moment, and it was gone. Climbing to a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears. (page # 126-127). For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you. Try to hold me in your mind, at some quiet times, as ardent and sincere in this one thing. The time will come, the time will not be long in coming, when new ties will be formed about you […] O Miss Manette, […] when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you! (page # 217). "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." (page # 447)


  • Resurrection: The theme of resurrection appears as the novel gets started when Doctor Manette is introduced in the story. Manette has been put into prison because of the Evermonde brothers. Manette writes in his journal that he was taken into custody because the Evermonde brothers did not want him to leak information about them. Manette also writes in his journal about him losing himself. Manette says this, “I know from terrible warnings I have noted in myself that my reason will not long remain unim­paired” (p. 455). Manette loses his mind and is eventually found by Tellson’s bank. At this point Manette is considered to be dead. It is not that he is dead physically but emotionally and he is lost in himself. In chapter 3, Lorry has a dream where he has a conversation with Manette saying, “You know that you are recalled to life,” which implies that Manette had to have died (p. 19). In this though we don’t mean physical death but mental and emotional. This is where resurrection comes in. Manette is lost in himself when Lorry and Lucie find him. Lucie, however, is able to bring her father back through her love. This is considered resurrection because Manette comes back from the “dead” and returns to himself, meaning he has been reborn. At the end of the book, this idea of resurrection reoccurs with the death of Carton. Carton in this book gives up his life to restore the peace of the Lucie, Darnay, and Dr. Manette (Book 3 Chapter 15). This shows resurrection because the peace of these people’s lives are restored through Carton’s sacrifice. Also the text implies that Carton will be reborn in the lives of the Darnay’s and Dr. Manette, “I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence” (p. 536).
  • Corruption of power: Corruption of power shows up in both the Aristocrats and the Republic. The corruption is easy to see in the Aristocrats through Manette’s letter. In the letter, Manette tells how the younger brother of the Evermonde’s raped a girl and killed her brother and father. This quote from the passage is from the older brother of the Evermonde’s saying how the brother of the raped girl was killed, “A crazed young common dog! A serf! Forced my brother to draw upon him, and has fallen by my brother’s sword—like a gentleman,” (p. 462). This all shows that the Aristocracy was corrupt and did not care who they killed. The younger brother of the Evermonde’s becomes the lord of a small village and does not treat the village well because he puts high taxes on and cares not for his people (Book 2 Chapter 8). The Republic shows the corruption of power because they go along killing aristocrats and anyone related to Aristocrats. This corruption helps move the plot of the story along because if they didn’t want to kill Aristocrats, Darnay would not have had a problem.

Victorian Time Period

The influence that the Victorian age has on this novel is that the underdog wins and showing the corruption of power. Victorian writers generally had characters that no matter what situation they were in they would pull through. Darnay was imprisoned and taken to court three times but twice was proven innocent and the last time his friend saved him. Even though Carton died to save Darnay, the book showed that he was reborn in the hearts of the people he loved and that was enough for Carton. The Novel was centered around the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a civil war in France that occurred because the people were tired of the aristocrats in their society. Victorian writers liked to write about the corruption of power and what better way did Dickens’ do this than to write the book in the setting of the French Revolution. Not only did Dickens’ write it in the French Revolution he also put in actual Aristocrats that put problems into the lives of the main protagonists.


That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air- Built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches. Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches, Shivelights and shadowtackle ín long | lashes lace, lance, and pair. Delightfully the bright wind boisterous | ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare Of yestertempest's creases; | in pool and rut peel parches Squandering ooze to squeezed | dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches Squadroned masks and manmarks | treadmire toil there Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, | nature's bonfire burns on. But quench her bonniest, dearest | to her, her clearest-selvèd spark Man, how fast his firedint, | his mark on mind, is gone! Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark Drowned. O pity and indig | nation! Manshape, that shone Sheer off, disseveral, a star, | death blots black out; nor mark Is any of him at all so stark But vastness blurs and time | beats level. Enough! the Resurrection, A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, | joyless days, dejection. Across my foundering deck shone A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash Fall to the residuary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash: In a flash, at a trumpet crash, I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond, Is immortal diamond.


This picture connects to the book because this shows the collaboration of the soldiers from the french revolution.  This picture reminds me of the Defarge's wine shop where they would collaborate on War stuff.

Personal Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. I loved how sacrificing that Carton was for the Darnay family.  He was willing to trade places with Charles because he felt that their happiness was more important than his own life.  Dickens could have been less wordy in the book.  Throughout the story something would happen and then Dickens would just ramble.  I started out not wanting to read this book and thinking that it would not interest me at all but this book became very interesting and I was able to understand about the Victorian way of writing and what the French Revolution was about.

Comment Stream