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 loves her and would do
anything for her. Darnay and 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 their honeymoon, Dr. Manette has a relapse 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
the revolution, the Marquis runs over a child in the streets of Paris. He
is assassinated soon after by Gaspard, the child's father, who is also a
part of the revolution. Three years later, right in the middle of the
revolution, Darnay