Plot and Conflict

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


In the beginning, Jarvis Lorry brings Lucie Manette to Paris, where she meets the father she thought was dead. Her father, Alexander Mannette, was damaged after eighteen years in French prison. Lucie brings Dr. Manette to England and restores him over the course of a few years. Five years later, a man named Charles Darnay is accused of being a spy against England, but he is proven innocent after Charles Darnay is shown to be of a similar resemblance to a man named Sydney Carton. Charles Darnay is a man who recently abandoned his aristocratic position in France and a man who killed his uncle who he despised. Sydney Carton is a self despising man who feels as if he wasted his life. Charles Darnay, who is unlike Sydney Carton, became an accomplished man and later marries Lucie after leaving France.

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After a Few Years...

After many years, a stir occurs in France, specifically in Paris. Once the caretakers of Dr. Manette, Ernest Defarge and his wife Madame Defarge speak of revolution. On one morning, the defarges and many other revolutionaries storm the Bastille and ravish the city. Many autocrats are massacred, and many more are put in line for the guillotine. Charles Darnay receives a letter from a servant in Paris to help him out of jail. Charles Darnay rides to Paris, and in the process, abandons his family. Once in Paris, Charles Darnay is taken to prison for being an emigrant out of France even though he has good intention. Soon enough, Charles realizes that he may be executed due to his status of being an aristocrat.

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Conflict Enters...

Lucie Manette and Dr. Manette ride to Paris on account of Charles' imprisonment to meet a terrified Mr. Lorry. Although Mr. Lorry tells Dr. Manette of the dangers of the revolution, Dr. Manette is confident in his power to save Charles. Dr. Manette is praised throughout the streets for being a survivor of the Bastille for eighteen years during the French monarchy. After a year of miserable imprisonment, Dr. Manette finds Charles Darnay the oppurtunity for a trial, in which he is declared not guilty and is set free. However, the same night, Charles is arrested and put in prison again. Lucie Manette breaks down again and Dr. Manette relapses once more to the habits he took up during his imprisonment. In the bar, Ms. Pross, a woman close to the Manette family, finds her brother, John Barsad, who once abandoned her. Out of nowhere, Sydney Carton shows up and with the realization that John Barsad is a spy in France, threatens to turn him in. Sydney inquires that John Barsad is a turnkey at the Bastille, which means that he can enter any prison cell, but can not do much else. Sydney strikes a deal with Mr. Barsad to allow him to see Charles Darnay when his execution is near.

The Accusation...

Charles Darnay at his second trial in France, is denounced as an enemy of France by the Defarges and Dr. Manette. Dr. Manette is skeptical of how he was a witness until a letter he wrote many years ago was pulled out as evidence. In his letter, which was written in the most horrific conditions in the Bastille, attests to a terrible story. The letter attests to how he tended to two patients who were fatally harmed by the aristocratic family Charles Darnay belonged to. One of the patients was a taken girl and the other being her brother who came to save her. Even after swearing to secrecy, Dr. Mannette planned to send a letter to the governor, but was stopped by the aristocratic family and put in prison. Upon hearing this injustice, the jury of the trial immediately sentences Charles Darnay to death within twenty four hours.
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A Hero Enters...

While all seems lost, Sydney Carton uses John Barsad to open the cell door, meets Charles Darnay, and reveals Sydney plan to save him. Because Sydney Carton bears a similar resemblance to Charles Darnay, they switch clothes and Charles leaves the prison while Sydney stays behind to be executed. A carriage, accompanied by Mr. Lorry and the Manettes, awaits the return of Sydney Carton. Charles Darnay boards on to the carriage, and leaves with Sydney's certificate of permission to leave France, which was given by Sydney himself. Madame Defarge, not content on killing Charles, goes to find his family, who already left by then, with the intent of accusing them to execution. Ms. Pross stays behind and with the gun Defarge tried to pull out, accidently shoots Defarge. Meanwhile Sydney Carton approaches his execution and truly appreciates the chance to do something positive with his life. With peace at mind with his life, Sydney Carton is executed by the guillotine.