A Tale of Two Cities


Book 2, Chapter 17

Just as Barsad revealed, Lucie and Darnay are to be married, and this chapter opens on the eve of her wedding.  Dr. Manette and Lucie are discussing her impending nuptials, and Lucie is trying to reassure her father that her marriage will not interfere with their relationship.  Dr. Manette reassures her that he is glad that she is marrying and that he wants her to be happy.  On the surface, the conversation seems to be that of any conversation a father might have with his daughter prior to her marriage.  However, Dr. Manette is still keeping secrets.  He has a dark history with Darnay, which give his positive and hopeful words even greater meaning and context.  Dr. Manette even makes an oblique reference to this, discussing how his time with Lucie has transformed him from a man obsessed with vengeance to a man who can enjoy life.  Of course, given that this chapter occurs immediately following a similar intimate scene between the Defarges, one sees the contrast between the vengeance-obsessed Madame Defarge and the forgiveness exhibited by Dr. Manette.

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