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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Six: Triumph


Darnay is brought in front of the dreaded Tribunal. Looking at the jury and the onlookers, he feels as though the usual order has been reversed and that now the felons are trying the honest men. The men in the courtroom are armed with various weapons while the women are wearing knives and knitting. Darnay notices Defarge and his wife; she has a spare piece of knitting under her arm and whispers into Defarge's ear.

At first, the onlookers seem hostile towards Darnay, but they respond favorably when they hear that he is married to Dr. Manette's daughter. They are sympathetic to the Doctor and appreciate the work he does. Because of this, their attitude towards Darnay changes from hostility to sympathy. With Dr. Manette's testimony, Gabelle's letter as evidence, and the sympathy of the crowd, Darnay is released. As he leaves, the crowd follows him. They are jubilant, rejoicing, and dancing the Carmagnole; they lift Darnay up and carry him home.

Along the way, Darnay looks for the Defarges, but they are nowhere to be seen. At first, he is a bit apprehensive about what is happening and imagines himself to be heading toward the guillotine. This feeling soon passes. Once he reaches home he hugs everyone, kisses his wife, and carries her upstairs. Lucie prays thankfully.


At last Dr. Manette succeeds in his efforts to bring Darnay before a Tribunal and have him released. The crowd that attends the trial is the lowest and cruelest of the populace. They comment noisily and applaud or disapprove according to their whims. It is obvious that their emotions control the verdict.

There are parallels between Darnay's first trial and this one. In the first, he was accused of treason, of being a spy; now he is also accused of treason, for being an aristocrat. At both trials, being an emigrant has caused him problems. In London, he is accused of making several trips to France, and here he is accused of being unpatriotic as he has fled his country. On both occasions, Darnay is trying to help someone, and his very act of kindness gets him into trouble. His noble birth and upbringing cause his tribulations.

Dickens depicts the fickleness of the mob, who first condemn and then applaud Darnay. When they celebrate his acquittal with rejoicing and dancing, there is a dream-like quality about the action. It is no wonder that Darnay feels a little apprehensive, even after he is a free man. His fear that he is really heading to the guillotine is also prophetic. It is also significant that the Defarges disappear immediately after Darnay's release.

Both Lucie and Darnay realize that Dr. Manette has been instrumental in gaining his release. Darnay thanks his father-in- law, acknowledging his indebtedness. Lucie gratefully lays her head on her father's breast as he had done on hers, a long time ago. Dr. Manette is overjoyed that he has been able to make his daughter happy again; it is adequate payment for his long life of suffering.

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