You may read the synopsis of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities in this article. This novel was written by Charles Dickens and1859 saw the publication of this work in the form of a book. In the late 18th century, the narrative of this novel was set up against the backdrop of the great French Revolution. When it comes to plot, however, Dickens drew heavily on the history of Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution for inspiration. Rather than realism, this tale provides a lot of drama. Large-scale mob violence is shown in this novel, which has a strong historical context. Two cities are featured in this novel: London and Paris.
A short summary of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
Jarvis Lorry is on a covert mission for Tellson’s Bank in late 1775, travelling from London to Paris. Doctor Alexandre Manette, who has been held captive in Paris for 18 years, has just been freed, and Lucie Manette, a 17-year-old daughter of the former doctor joins Jarvis on his trip to meet her father.
They discover Ernest Defarge caring for the Doctor when they arrive in Paris. In the impoverished Saint-Antoine neighbourhood, Defarge and his wife now manage a wine business. The Doctor has changed drastically during his years in jail, and Defarge warns Mr. Lorry and Lucie of this when he leads them to the garret chamber where he is holding him. Doctor Manette, who is thin and frail, is sitting at a shoemaker’s bench, working hard on a pair of shoes. When Lucie approaches him, he remembers his wife and begins to weep, despite his lack of response to Defarge’s and Mr. Lorry’s questioning. Mr. Lorry and Lucie take him to England that night after she has comforted him.
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Jerry Cruncher, the porter for Tellson’s Bank, delivers a message to Mr. Lorry, who is in a courtroom, five years after the events in France. Charles Darnay, a Frenchman suspected of spying for both France and the United States, has summoned Mr. Lorry as a witness. The prosecution’s witnesses in the trial include Dr. Manette and Lucie. Since his recovery, Dr. Manette and his daughter have developed a strong relationship.
According to the testimonies of John Barsad and Roger Cly, two acquaintances who know Darnay and worked for him previously, he will be found guilty of treason and executed by beheading. Darnay’s lawyer, Mr. Stryver, asks questions that lead to the conclusion that Cly and Barsad are the true spies, but Sydney Carton, Stryver’s assistant, points out that Carton and Darnay look identical enough to be duplicates. Because of this new information, the court rules that Darnay cannot be shown to be the person witnessed exchanging secrets, and therefore Darnay is free to go.
Lucie’s beauty and good attitude draw Darnay, Carton, and Stryver into the Manette household after the trial. In the end, Mr. Lorry persuades Stryver to postpone the proposal. In spite of his feelings for Lucie, Carton refuses to propose marriage to her, knowing well that his inebriated and indifferent lifestyle is unworthy of her. Despite this, he makes a promise to Lucie that he would happily devote his life to save the life of someone she loved. Lucie’s love for Darnay eventually returns, and the two marry with the approval of Dr. Manette. The doctor’s mental health deteriorates again for nine days.
Meanwhile, things continue to get worse in France. Darnay’s uncle, the Marquis St. Evrémonde, a nasty and unfeeling man, is found killed in his bed after he ran over a boy with his carriage in Paris. When it comes to his bloodline, Darnay has no interest in returning to his family’s violent ways and instead works as a French instructor in England.
The storming of the Bastille in July 1789 kicks off the revolution in earnest. In the midst of the revolution, the Defarges lead the masses in a wave of violence and destruction. They had gained control of France by 1792, and they are imprisoning or executing everyone they consider an enemy of the state. Evrémonde’s steward, who has been arrested, writes to Darnay pleading with him to come to France and free him. In order to fulfil his obligation to his servant, Darnay sets off towards France, unaware of the dangers that await him. Once in Paris, he is taken to La Force jail “in secret,” with no means of communication and scant possibility of a trial, by revolutionaries.
Soon after their arrival in Paris, Dr. Manette, Lucie, and Lucie’s daughter meet Mr. Lorry in Tellson’s Paris office. As a former Bastille prisoner, Doctor Manette enjoys hero status among the rebels and is able to learn what happened to his son-in-law. He uses his clout to secure Darnay’s trial, and his son-in-law is set free thanks to Doctor Manette’s compelling evidence. However, the revolutionaries once again detain Darnay on the basis of the Defarges’ claims after he has been reunited with his wife and children for a few hours.
Darnay is tried once more the next day. This time, the Defarges present a letter that Doctor Manette had written while he was imprisoned, in which he criticised the Evrémondes for both the death of Madame Defarge’s family and for holding the Doctor. The court gives Darnay death penalty based on this evidence, and Doctor Manette, distraught by what has transpired, reverts to his previous condition of dementia.
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Sydney Carton has arrived in Paris and hears of Darnay’s fate without the knowledge of the Manette and Darnay family. Additionally, he learns about a scheme to hang Lucie and her kid. He uses a jail spy’s assistance to enter the prison where the revolutionaries are imprisoning Darnay because he is determined to preserve their lives. He goes into Darnay’s cell, changes into his clothing, gives him pills, and arranges for Darnay to be transported out of prison in his place. Despite the similarity in their physical characteristics, neither man’s identification is questioned. Carton heads to the guillotine knowing that his sacrifice has spared the life of the woman he loves and her family while Mr. Lorry guides Doctor Manette, Darnay, Lucie, and baby Lucie out of France.