In the fictitious novel Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens lays outa brilliant plot. Charles Dickens was born in England on February 7, 1812 nearsthe south coast. His family moved to London when he was ten years old andquickly went into debt. To help support him, Charles went to work at a blackingwarehouse when he was twelve. His father was soon imprisoned for debt andshortly thereafter the rest of the family split apart. Charles continued to workat the blacking warehouse even after his father inherited some money and got outof prison. When he was thirteen, Dickens went back to school for two years. Helater learned shorthand and became a freelance court reporter. He started out asa journalist at the age of twenty and later wrote his first novel, The PickwickPapers. He went on to write many other novels, including Tale of Two Cities in1859. Tale of Two Cities takes place in France and England during the troubledtimes of the French Revolution. There are travels by the characters between thecountries, but most of the action takes place in Paris, France. The wineshop inParis is the hot spot for the French revolutionists, mostly because the wineshopowner, Ernest Defarge, and his wife, Madame Defarge, are key leaders andofficials of the revolution. Action in the book is scattered out in many places;such as the Bastille, Tellson’s Bank, the home of the Manettes, and largely, thestreets of Paris. These places help to introduce many characters into the plot.
One of the main characters, Madame Therese Defarge, is a major antagonist whoseeks revenge, being a key revolutionist. She is very stubborn and unforgivingin her cunning scheme of revenge on the Evermonde family. Throughout the story,she knits shrouds for the intended victims of the revolution. Charles Darnay,one of whom Mrs. Defarge is seeking revenge, is constantly being put on thestand and wants no part of his own lineage. He is a languid protagonist and hasa tendency to get arrested and must be bailed out several times during thestory. Dr. Alexander Manette, a veteran prisoner of the Bastille and moderateprotagonist, cannot escape the memory of being held and sometimes relapses tocobbling shoes. Dr. Manette is somewhat redundant as a character in the novel,but plays a very significant part in the plot. Dr. Manette’s daughter, LucieManette, a positive protagonist, is loved by many and marries Charles Darnay.
She is a quiet, emotional person and a subtle protagonist in the novel. One whonever forgot his love for Lucie, the protagonist Sydney Carton changedpredominately during the course of the novel. Sydney, a look-alike of CharlesDarnay, was introduced as a frustrated, immature alcoholic, but in the end, madethe ultimate sacrifice for a good friend. These and other characters help toweave an interesting and dramatic plot. Dr. Manette has just been released fromthe Bastille, and Lucie, eager to meet her father whom she thought was dead,goes with Mr. Jarvis Lorry to bring him back to England. Dr. Manette is in aninsane state from his long prison stay and does nothing but cobble shoes,although he is finally persuaded to go to England. Several years later, Lucie,Dr. Manette, and Mr. Lorry are witnesses at the trial of Charles Darnay. Darnay,earning his living as a tutor, frequently travels between England and France andis accused of treason in his home country of France. He is saved from beingprosecuted by Sydney Carton, who a witness confuses for Darnay, thus not makingthe case positive. Darnay ended up being acquitted for his presumed crime.
Darnay and Carton both fall in love with Lucie and want to marry her. Carton, analcoholic at the time, realizes that a relationship with Lucie is impossible,but he still tells her that he loves her and would do anything for her. Darnayand Lucie marry each other on the premises of the two promises between Dr.
Manette and Darnay. Right after the marriage, while the newlyweds are on theirhoneymoon, Dr. Manette has relapsed and cobbles shoes for nine days straight.
France’s citizens arm themselves for a revolution and, led by the Defarges,start the revolution by raiding the Bastille. Shortly before the start of therevolution, the Marquis runs over a child in the streets of Paris. Gaspard, thechilds father, who is also a part of the revolution, assassinates him soonafter. Three years later, right in the middle of the revolution, Darnay iscalled to France to help Gabelle, an old friend. As soon as he goes down whatseems to be a one-way street to France, he is arrested (in France) for being anenemy of the state. Dr. Manette, Lucie, and the Darnay’s daughter go shortlyafter to Paris to see if they can be of any help to Charles. When the delayedtrial finally takes place, Dr. Manette, who is in the people’s favor, uses hisinfluence to free Charles. The same day, Charles is re-arrested on charges setforth by the Defarges and one other mystery person. The next day, at a trialthat had absolutely no delay, Charles is convicted and sentenced to death.
Because of the despondent situation, Dr. Manette has a relapse and cobbles shoe.
Sydney Carton overhears plot to kill Lucie, her daughter, and Dr. Manette andhas them immediately get ready to leave the country. Carton, having spycontacts, gets into the prison in which Darnay is being held, drugs him andswitches places with him. Lucie, Charles, and their daughter successfully leavethe country. Sydney Carton, making the ultimate sacrifice, partly for Lucie,goes to the guillotine in place of Charles. Just before he dies, Carton has avision in which society is greatly improved and the Darnays have a son namedafter him. This dramatic plot revolves around several central themes. One themeinvolves revenge. The evil effects of revenge bring out ones bad side. MadameDefarge is the main subject of this implicit theme. She turns into a killingmachine because she must get revenge. An example of this is when she finds outCharles Darnay is an Evermonde and is going to marry Lucie Manette. She knitsDarnay’s name into the death register. Another key theme in the novel has to dowith courage and sacrifice. There were many sacrifices in this novel by manydifferent characters. Sydney made the ultimate sacrifice Carton because of hislove for Lucie and his friendship with Darnay, Carton is the example of one ofthe most important themes implied in this book. Carton helps others, and doesnot think so much of himself. Right before going to the guillotine, Carton seesa better world, a world where he gave to others, not thinking of himself. Thesethemes help outline an interesting story.