A Tale Of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

Dr. Alexandre Manette

Dr. Alexandre Manette the great survivor of the Bastille and father to Lucie Manette.
Dr.Manette is the most important character in the book. Throughout the book he is the stories
backbone. Few subplots ignore Manette.
Dr. Manette loves his daughter. She is the world to him, without her he would still be a
crazed old man. Dr. Manette’s love for his daughter is clear throughout the story he expresses
his thought verbally. When his daughter Lucie is married he tells her “Consider how natural
and how plain it is, my dear, that it should be so. You, devoted and young, cannot fully
appreciate the anxiety I have felt that your life should not be wasted.”1 Dr.Manette is a very
caring man. Caring, that is the one adjective I would use to describe Dr.Manette.
As I said before Dr.Manette loves his daughter. Lucie Manette is his driving force.
Dr.Manette wants little except for his daughter to live a full and happy life and himself to be
a part of it. His desire to be a part of Lucie life makes it hard for him to give her up to
Charles Darnay. After the wedding Dr.Manette says “Take her, Charles. She is yours.”2 He
does so with a quite sadness.
A huge portion of the story revolves about Dr.Manette’s past suffering in the Bastille.
The Doctors Bastille time is pure hell. Ever after being freed he still mumbles crazy things
such as “It is a lady’s shoe. It is a young lady’s walking-shoe. It is in the present mode. I have
had a pattern in my hand.”3 Outbursts such as that show that he is not nor may he ever heal
his scars. Though the book starts after his imprisonment, his Bastille time contains his
actions that effects the stories plot the most. The action that truly stands out is his writing
and hiding of the letter that later convicts Charles Darnay. The exposure of the letter during
the trail is in my opinion the most interesting twist in A Tale Of Two Cities.
Dr.Manette has few contacts with the Defarges however in my opinion the doctors main
conflict is with them. In the Defarge’s quest for vengeance against the Evermondes they
come upon apposing paths with the doctor. The Defarges want Darnay dead. The doctor can
not let Darnay die for he has become a large part of his daughters life. The death of Darnay
would bare heavily on Lucie’s shoulders. We see this when Lucie pleas with Madam Defarge
commanding “You will be good to my poor husband. You will do him no harm. You will
help me to see him if you can?”4
I did not really like the character Dr.Manette. Not because he was a bad person, I just
didn’t think he was that interesting. I found him dull. I think the fact that I have grown up
seeing characters like the Doctor on TV and in movies may have caused my feelings. I need
characters that are more original (Dr.Manette of course is one of the originals). I think the
books opening line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”5 sums up my feelings
about reading this book.

1Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.188
2Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.194
3Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.49
4Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.265
5Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.13

Bibliography

Dickens, Charles. A Tale Of Two Cities. Signet Classic, 1859.
--------------------------------------------------------------