Tale of Two Cities (1950)
Charles Darnay - A French aristocrat by birth, Darnay chooses to live in
England because he cannot bear to be associated with the cruel injustices of the French
social system. Darnay displays great virtue in his rejection of the snobbish and cruel
values of his uncle, the Marquis Evrémonde. He exhibits an admirable honesty in his
decision to reveal to Doctor Manette his true identity as a member of the infamous
Evrémonde family. So, too, does he prove his courage in his decision to return to Paris
at great personal risk to save the imprisoned Gabelle.
Sydney Carton - An insolent, indifferent, and alcoholic attorney who works with
Stryver. Carton has no real prospects in life and doesn’t seem to be in pursuit of any.
He does, however, love Lucie, and his feelings for her eventually transform him into a
man of profound merit. At first the polar opposite of Darnay, in the end Carton morally
surpasses the man to whom he bears a striking physical resemblance.
Doctor Manette - Lucie’s father and a brilliant physician, Doctor Manette spent
eighteen years as a prisoner in the Bastille. At the start of the novel, Manette does
nothing but make shoes, a hobby that he adopted to distract himself from the tortures of
prison. As he overcomes his past as a prisoner, however, he proves to be a kind, loving
father who prizes his daughter’s happiness above all things.
Monsieur Defarge - A wine shop owner and revolutionary in the poor Saint
Antoine section of Paris, Monsieur Defarge formerly worked as a servant for Doctor
Manette. Defarge proves an intelligent and committed revolutionary, a natural leader.
Although he remains dedicated to bringing about a better society at any cost, he does
demonstrate a kindness toward Manette. His wife, Madame Defarge, views this
consideration for Manette as a weakness
Madame Defarge - A cruel revolutionary whose hatred of the aristocracy fuels
her tireless crusade, Madame Defarge spends a good deal of the novel knitting a
register of everyone who must die for the revolutionary cause. Unlike her husband, she
proves unrelentingly blood-thirsty, and her lust for vengeance knows no bounds.
During the French Revolution, French national Lucie Manette meets and falls in love
with Englishman Charles Darnay. He is however hiding his true identity as a member of
the French aristocratic Evrémonde family, who he has denounced in private. The
Marquis St. Evrémonde in particular was a cruel man, those he wronged who have
vowed to see the end of the family line at any cost. Lucie's father Dr. Alexandre
Manette, in fact, was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years because of actions of
the Marquis. Into their lives comes English barrister Sydney Carton, who enjoys his
alcohol to excess. Carton earlier defended Darnay in a trial on trumped up charges of
treason. Carton doesn't really like Darnay in part because Carton also loves Lucie,...