A Tale of Two Cities Summary – The Story of the French Doctor Manette

A Tale of Two Cities Summary Chapter 1

A Tale of Two Cities was written by Charles Dickens in 1859. Charles Dickens novel tells the story of the French Doctor Manette. let’s discuss the A Tale of Two Cities Summary.

Eighteenth century France and England are ruled by fear, oppression, and torture. The upper classes live in luxury while common people suffer and starve. In England, a man named Jarvis Lorry receives a message to meet “Mam’selle” and then help rescue a man “buried alive for eighteen years”. “Mam’selle” is a nice and attractive young woman named Lucie Manetter.

Her father, Dr. Manette, thought dead, has been released from a Paris prison after eighteen years. He is being hidden by the revolutionaries Monsieur Defarge and his cruel wife, who knits endlessly, at the Defarges’ wine shop in a Paris suburb. But Dr. Manette seems to have lost his sanity after his long imprisonment. Five years later, a good man named Charles. Darnay is accused of treason and will die by torture if found guilty.

Two Witness against him are Lucie Manette and her father, but Lucie is filled with sympathy for Darnay. Darnay physically resembles one of the lawyers, the crude and alcoholic Sydney Carton. This cast enough doubt on the accusers to acquit Darnay. Carton, who is a failure at life, feels increasingly bitter towards the good and successful Darnay, who is loved by a woman like Lucie. Four months after the trial, Lucie is living with her father.

A Tale of Two Cities Summary Chapter 2

Dr. Manette is recovering, though the reason for his imprisonment is still a mystery. At a Paris reception for the aristocracy, the Marquis St. Evremonde feels insulted and leaves in a fit of anger. His carriage kills a child but the Marquis only throws a coin to the child’s father, Gaspard, and leaves in a rage. The Defarges witness this incident. The Marquis goes to his country estate and meets his newphew, Charles Darnay Evremonde. They despise each other and Darnay says he is renouncing all of his own titles and leaving France.

In the Morning, the Marquis is found to have been murdered by Gaspard. A year later, three men wish to marry Lucie: Darnay, his lawyer Stryver, and Carton. But Lucie does not find Stryver acceptable and she knows Carton will not change. He knows that she was his last chance to be “recalled to life”.

A Tale of Two Cities Summary Chapter 3

Gaspard has been hanged for the murder of the Marquis Evremonde. Madame Defarge places the names of the entire Evremonde family on her knitted death list, including Charles Darnay Evremonde – now engaged to Lucie Manetter – and their future children. After Lucie’s wedding, when Dr. Manette learns that Darnay is actually an Evremonde, Manette regresses into insanity. Ten days later, Dr. Manette seems to be recovered.

Lucie and Darnay return and Carton visits them, saying he wishes to apologize and be a friend to them. They both agree. Eight years later, Lucie and Darnay are living in England. Lucie’s childhood governess, Miss Pross, is with them. They have two children who are fond of Carton. In France, the Defarges lead a bloddy attack on the Bastille and Monsieur Defarge searches for Dr. Manette’s old cell.

A Tale of Two Cities Summary Chapter 4

Three years later, the French Revolution has removed the royalty from power. Darnay learns that his steward in France, Gabelle, has been arrested for acting on behalf of the Evremonde family. Darnay quiently leaves for France, not realizing that though he renounced the family name and wealth he will still be seen as a despised aristocrat. In Paris Monsieur Defarge captures Darnay and takes him to La Force Prison.

Lucie and her father arrive in Paris. Dr. Manette, unafraid after his years spent in the Bastille, tries to persuade the mob surrounding La Force to let him rescue his daughter’s husband. But Darnay remains in prison for another fifteen months as the Reign of Terror begins. Darnay is acquitted through the actions of Dr. Manette, but Madame Defarge soon has Darnay re-arrested.His accusers this time are the Defarges and Dr. Manette. The doctor objects, but Monsieur States he retrieved a buried paper from Manette’s old cell in the Bastille and it contains the evidence.

Eighteen years before, Dr. Manette tried to hel a wounded peasant man who claimed that 2 noblemen attacked him – though he was able to get his younger sister to safety. The noblemen were named Evremonde and one had a son named Charles Darnay Evremonde. Dr. Manette wrote a letter to the Court reporting the violent incident, but he was captured by the twin noblemen before it was delivered. Dr. Manetter buried the letter in his Bastille cell. Darnay is sentenced to death.

A Tale of Two Cities Summary Chapter 5

He and Lucie say their farewells but their daughter, young Lucie, begs Carton to help. He goes to the Defarge wine shop, where Madame Defaege sees his resemblance to Darnay. Carton leand that Madame Defarge is youg peasant woman who survived the attack by the Evremonde brother’s years before and swore vengeance on all of them – including their descendants. On the day of Darnay’s execution, Carton visits him, drugs him into unconsciousness, and trades places with him.

Darnay and the others safely escape France. Madame Defarge goes to Lucie apartment to denounce her, but is shot and killed by Miss Pross – Lucie’s former governess and protector. Before he dies on the guillotine, Carton is at peace and feels he has atoned for a wasted life by allowing Darnay to go free. His final thoughts are that, “it is a far better thing I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known”.

A Tale of Two Cities Characters

Sydney Carton, Lucie Manette, The Duke D’Evremon, Charles Darnay, John Barsad, Alexandre Manette, Jerry Cruncher.

I hope you will have understood the complete novel “A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens“. If you are interested to read the Charles Dickens’s books, you can download or buy A Tale of Two Cities PDF.

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