Tale of Two Cities

Topics: A Tale of Two Cities, French Revolution, Charles Dickens Pages: 7 (1357 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In the fictitious novel Tale of Two Cities, the author, Charles Dickens,

lays out a brilliant plot. Charles Dickens was born in England on February

7, 1812 near the south coast. His family moved to London when he was ten

years old and quickly went into debt. To help support himself, Charles went

to work at a blacking warehouse when he was twelve. His father was soon

imprisoned for debt and shortly thereafter the rest of the family split

apart. Charles continued to work at the blacking warehouse even after his

father inherited some money and got out of prison. When he was thirteen,

Dickens went back to school for two years. He later learned shorthand and

became a freelance court reporter. He started out as a journalist at the

age of twenty and later wrote his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. He went

on to write many other novels, including Tale of Two Cities in 1859.

Tale of Two Cities takes place in France and England during the troubled

times of the French Revolution. There are travels by the characters between

the countries, but most of the action takes place in Paris, France. The

wineshop in Paris is the hot spot for the French revolutionists, mostly

because the wineshop owner, Ernest Defarge, and his wife, Madame Defarge,

are key leaders and officials 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, the streets of Paris. These places help to

introduce many characters into the plot.

One of the main characters, Madame Therese Defarge, is a major antagonist

who seeks revenge, being a key revolutionist. She is very stubborn and

unforgiving in 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 the stand and wants no part of his own lineage. He

is a languid protagonist and has a tendency to get arrested and must be

bailed out several times during the story. Dr. Alexander Manette, a veteran

prisoner of the Bastille and moderate protagonist, cannot escape the memory

of being held and sometimes relapses to cobbling 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, Lucie Manette, 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 who never

forgot his love for Lucie, the protagonist Sydney Carton changed

predominately during the course of the novel. Sydney , a look-alike of

Charles Darnay, was introduced as a frustrated, immature alcoholic, but in

the end, made the ultimate sacrifice for a good friend. These and other

characters help to weave an interesting and dramatic plot.

Dr. Manette has just been released from the 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 an insane 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 and is

accused of treason in his home country of France. He is saved from being

prosecuted by Sydney Carton, who a witness confuses for Darnay, thus not

making the 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, an alcoholic at the time, realizes that a relationship with

Lucie is impossible, but he still tells her that he...
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