Riveting Story of Love and Personal Sacrifice
Charles Dickens published 'The Tale of Two Cities' in 1859. The story begins from 1775 leading up to the French revolution with events in London and Paris, from which the novel gets its name.
The main protagonists of the story are Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton, though there are other subplots in the story. Lucie is the daughter of a French Doctor Dr. Alexandre Manette who was imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille because of an old enmity. He is being looked after by his old servant Defarge, and spends his time in shoe-making. Due to the long years in imprisonment, he is almost out of his mind.
Now, Lucie travels to France with Jarvis Lorry to bring him back to England. Nearly five years later, Charles Darnay, who is a French man, is being tried on a false basis of spying.
Lucie and her father are called at the trial as reluctant witnesses. The trial ends in the acquittal of Charles, and he takes a liking for Lucie along with his lawyer’s assistant Sydney Carton. At this juncture, the similarities in the appearance of Carton and Darnay are highlighted. Eventually, Charles marries Lucie, but Carton continues to maintain his fondness for her.
Actually Darnay is the nephew of Marquis St Evremonde, who is a French nobleman known for his cruel and heartless ways. In the story it is later revealed that Dr. Manette was imprisoned at the behest of a letter issued by the Marquis. The story proceeds even as the Marquis is murdered. When the revolution begins, the revolutionaries arrest and imprison Darney. Though Darney is released, he is later rearrested and sentenced to death in the light of evidence produced against him. At this instance, Carlton manages to send Darney along with Lucie and Mr. Jarvis Lorry back to London and himself goes to the guillotine instead of Darney.
The story brilliantly portrays personal struggle and sacrifice, along with class conflict in the midst of French aristocracy during that period.