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Two City Tales Essay, Research Paper

A tale of two cities

n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n A Tale of two Cities 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 nears the south coast. His family moved to London when

he was ten years old and quickly went into debt. To help support him, 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

relapsed 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. Gaspard, the child’s father, who is also a

part of the revolution, assassinates him soon after. Three years later, right in

the middle of the revolution, Darnay is called to France to help Gabelle, an old

friend. As soon as he goes down what seems to be a one-way street to France,

he is arrested (in France) for being an enemy of the state. Dr. Manette, Lucie,

and the Darnay’s daughter go shortly after to Paris to see if they can be of any

help to Charles. When the delayed trial finally takes place, Dr. Manette, who is

in the people’s favor, uses his influence to free Charles. The same day, Charles

is re-arrested on charges set forth by the Defarges and one other mystery

person. The next day, at a trial that had absolutely no delay, Charles is

convicted and sentenced to death. Because of the despondent situation, Dr.

Manette has a relapse and cobbles shoe. Sydney Carton overhears plot to kill

Lucie, her daughter, and Dr. Manette and has them immediately get ready to

leave the country. Carton, having spy contacts, gets into the prison in which

Darnay is being held, drugs him and switches places with him. Lucie, Charles,

and their daughter successfully leave the country. Sydney Carton, making the

ultimate sacrifice, partly for Lucie, goes to the guillotine in place of Charles.

Just before he dies, Carton has a vision in which society is greatly improved

and the Darnays have a son named after him. This dramatic plot revolves

around several central themes. One theme involves revenge. The evil effects

of revenge bring out one’s bad side. Madame Defarge is the main subject of

this implicit theme. She turns into a killing machine because she must get

revenge. An example of this is when she finds out Charles Darnay is an

Evermonde and is going to marry Lucie Manette. She knits Darnay’s name into

the death register. Another key theme in the novel has to do with courage and

sacrifice. There were many sacrifices in this novel by many different

characters. Sydney made the ultimate sacrifice Carton because of his love for

Lucie and his friendship with Darnay, Carton is the example of one of the most

important themes implied in this book. Carton helps others, and does not think

so much of himself. Right before going to the guillotine, Carton sees a better

world, a world where he gave to others, not thinking of himself. These themes

help outline an interesting story.

Bibliography

Charles Dickens book “A tale of two cities”


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