Free Study Guide: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - Free BookNotes|
Downloadable / Printable Version
A TALE OF TWO CITIES: FREE NOTES
The story of the manuscript and the cruel imprisonment of the Doctor have all the sensational elements of a Gothic novel. Dickens, however, tells Dr. Manette's story in clear and vigorous prose style that holds the reader spellbound. The final pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place when the connection of Dr. Manette to the Evremondes is revealed. It is no wonder he was shocked and upset when he learned that his son-in-law was an Evremonde.
Dickens is a master storyteller and builds up his plot in a methodical, interesting, and captivating manner. No incident in the novel is irrelevant to his complex plot, and as the novel rushes to a conclusion, Dickens tries to tie up all the loose ends. The reader now understands that part of the reason for Darnays trips to France were to search for the surviving sister, as his mother obviously commanded him to do.
Dickens' use of coincidence and fate becomes very important in this chapter.
It is ironic that Dr. Manette’s hatred of the Evremondes has turned in
to a love for one of them, his son-in law Darnay. It is also ironic that
Dr. Manette’s manuscript is to be the evidence that pronounces the death
knell for that same Evremonde. It appears that the innocent Darnay will
have to pay with his life for the sins of his fathers; there is no escape
from his family history. Dickens seems to be saying that divine providence
rules over all, and evil action must be punished.
Lucie is completely shocked by the guilty verdict; but she nobly lifts herself out of her stupor because she knows she has to stand by Darnay in his misery rather than augment it. She pleads with his jailer to let her embrace her husband for the last time. Barsad allows her to do so. Darnay blesses his wife and assures her that they will meet again one day. He also sends a parting blessing to little Lucie. As the couple tear themselves apart, Lucie tearfully informs her husband that they will not be parted for long as she is sure to die of a broken heart. Darnay prevents the Doctor from kneeling before him and comforts him. He realizes now the full extent of the struggle the Doctor has endured. He is also grateful for his efforts to release him. The Doctor's only response is to run his hands through his hair and utter an anguished cry. After Darnay is led out, Lucie collapses at her father's feet.
Carton, who has unobtrusively observed this scene, comes forward and carries
the senseless woman to the coach. On reaching the house, Carton carries
her again and lays her on the couch. Little Lucie and Miss Pross weep
over her. Carton does not want Lucie to be revived. It would be better
for her to sleep through her misery. Little Lucie is overjoyed to see
Carton and knows that he will do something to help her mother and save
her father. He promises her that she will again see her father. He kisses
Lucie and whispers in her ear, "A life you love." This is overheard
by little Lucie. He urges Dr. Manette to use his influence, once again,
to save Darnay's life, even though he knows that it is hopeless. He explains
to Mr. Lorry that he encouraged Dr. Manette only because it might console
Lucie one day. Carton then leaves.
The plot moves rapidly to the grand finale. It is dominated by the actions
of Sydney Carton who from a dissipated and irresolute lawyer has emerged
as a clear-headed and meticulous planner. This is not really a metamorphosis,
for the sharpness of his mind has been observed in his work for Mr. Stryver.
After the tearful and heartbreaking separation from Darnay, Lucie faints.
It is significant that Carton comes to her rescue and carries her to home
and safety. As Lucie lies unconscious, he assures little Lucie that she
will soon see her father. His parting kiss and whispering in his beloved
Lucie's ear is very touching, for he alone knows that he will never see
her again. He plans for the family to escape and gets ready to visit Darnay
in the prison; he will switch places with him there. It is an act of pure
love for Lucie. He is to become the Christ figure who is willing to die
for the sins of Darnay's ancestors.
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
125 Users Online | This page has been viewed 3690 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:51:02 AM
Cite this page:
TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on A Tale of Two Cities".
. 09 May 2017