A Tale of Two Cities


Book 2, Chapter 9

The Marquis sits down to dine at a table set for two, and soon the mysterious Charles arrives. Charles turns out to be none other than Charles Darnay. During their supper, Darnay renounces the family name and title. The Marquis is unfailingly polite to Darnay, but the tense undercurrents of their relationship are made clear. At the meal, the Marquis asks about Dr. Manette and Lucie and gives Darnay a mysterious smile, suggesting an unknown relationship between them and the Marquis. However, it is only after Darnay leaves that the most significant action in the chapter occurs. That night, the Marquis is murdered in his bed. He is stabbed with a knife, and a note attached to the knife attributes the murder to the Jacquerie, which is how the Revolutionaries refer to themselves.

The entire chapter is about revolution. Obviously, the murder of the Marquis demonstrates that the Revolutionaries have moved beyond discussion and planning and are taking steps to overthrow the aristocracy, though one certainly suspects that the father of the murdered child is the member of the Jacquerie who was responsible for the actual murder. However, the conversation between Darnay and the Marquis is also important in establishing the concept of the Revolution. The revolutionary spirit is not confined to the lower class, but also impacts some members of the aristocracy who, like Darnay, do not believe that the circumstances of their birth should place them in a position of privilege. It is important to know that Darnay feels this way, because of how he is treated by the Revolutionaries later in the novel.

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