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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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The novel is set in two cities, London and Paris. It has the French Revolution as its background. The novel covers a period of eighteen years. It starts in 1775, fourteen years before the fall of the Bastille and continues until the Reign of Terror (1792-93).


Major Characters

Dr. Alexandre Manette

A French physician who is imprisoned for eighteen years in the Bastille, by the Marquis St. Evremonde. He is rescued and nursed back to health by his daughter Lucie. He helps her to save her husband Darnay.

Charles Darnay

The protagonist of the novel, who is a French nobleman by birth. He is a good man who renounces his inheritance and his title, preferring to earn an honest living as a tutor in England. He marries Lucie Manette. He is falsely accused during the Reign of Terror but is saved from the guillotine by Carton.

Lucie Manette Darnay

The beautiful and compassionate daughter of Dr. Manette, who becomes the wife of Charles Darnay. She is a very virtuous woman who reaches out to all human beings in need of love. Everyone she meets loves her and is loyal to her.

Sydney Carton

A clever barrister who resembles Darnay in appearance. Carton wastes his life by drinking and idling. His love for Lucie is the only bright spot in his life. He is a man of word and courage. He fulfills his promise by sacrificing his life for Darnay's.

Monsieur Ernest Defarge

A wine-seller in Paris. He had been Dr. Manette's servant and becomes a leader of the revolutionaries.

Madame Therese Defarge

The wife of Ernest Defarge, who is a cruel, embittered, and vengeful woman. She has a watchful eye and records, in her knitting, the names of all those who had to die. She represents the bloody and violent aspect of the revolution.

Minor Characters

Mr. Jarvis Lorry

An official of Tellson's bank who befriends the Manette family.

Miss Pross

Lucie's devoted English nurse who is a woman of great strength and courage. She fiercely protects Lucie from any harm.

Jeremy Cruncher

An odd-job man, who sits outside Tellson's bank during the day and is a body-snatcher by night. He provides comic relief to the story.

Mrs. Cruncher

Jerry Cruncher's wife who is often beaten by her husband. She is a devout woman who prays frequently, for she does not approve of her husband's second profession.

Young Jerry

The son of the Crunchers.

C. J. Stryver

A successful lawyer who is a selfish and ambitious man. He employs Carton and defends Darnay in England.

Marquis St. Evremonde

The cruel and ruthless uncle of Darnay who depicts the worst side of the aristocracy. He is killed by a revolutionary.


The faithful steward of the Evremonde family. He gets into trouble after the revolution breaks out. Darnay goes to Paris to help him.


The father of the child run over by the Marquis' carriage. He takes revenge by murdering the Marquis.

John Barsad

Miss Pross' brother. He is first a police spy in England and then a prison spy in France. He helps Carton save Darnay.

Roger Cly

A police spy in England who becomes a prison spy during the revolution in France. He testifies against Darnay at his trial in London.

The Vengeance

A bloodthirsty woman who is always at the side of Madame Defarge.

Young Lucie Darnay

The daughter of Lucie and Charles Darnay. She accompanies her mother to Paris when Darnay is imprisoned.


An arrogant aristocrat. After the Bastille falls, the angry mob hangs him.

The Seamstress

An innocent young woman who is sentenced to die along with Darnay. She recognizes that Carton has taken his place and is comforted by him as they go to the guillotine.

Jacques One, Two, Three

Revolutionaries who secretly plan the revolution.

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