It is quite difficult to write about the novels written by Charles Dickens, as you have to be one among the thousands of people who have done the job earlier. It is quite surprising that the master writer like Charles Dickens who wrote novels like ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Great Expectations’ turned on the historic lane and configured a love story that is passing through the confused streets of two great cities: London and Paris. These were the most turbulent cities of eighteenth century. Charles Dickens had woven his novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ narrating these cities.
The Plot: A Story of Turmoil
Love relationship of two unusual characters, Lucy Manette and Charles Darney, passed through the time narrated by Dickens as ‘It was the best of the times; it was the worst of the times’. The couple made their way through strange circumstances. They were caught in a storm of revolutionary atmosphere of late eighteenth century France. And they would have hardly passed through it without offering abnormal responses to the situation they were forced to face.
The story is painted on a torn canvass of turbulent London where mockery of law had replaced administration of justice, the guns were necessary articles for travellers, and the fresh graves were excavated for selling the parts of dead bodies. The warehouse of France in general and the theatre of Paris in particular were worse than London. The last phase of feudalism and haunted conscience of French peasants had outrun all the notions of civility and human behavior. Movement of peasants for ousting the tyrant rulers partially ended on fall of the prison of Bastille. All the prisoners were freed from the Bastille jail-Dr. Manette, father of Lucy Manette, one the prime characters of the novel being one of them.
Lucy helped her father to come out of the obsession of his jail term. She took charge of the boat and sailed through the demanding process of curing his father and developing her relationship with Charles. A migrant from France and language teacher in London school, Charles Darney had aristocratic lineage that he kept undisclosed until the day of his marriage with Lucy. But his aristocratic virtue of protecting one of his former loyalists drove him into the storm of France. He was caught; he was convicted for merely having the aristocratic lineage; and he was to be executed.
But he was freed through unexpected assistance from former lover of Lucy, Sydney Carton. His face was just like face of Charles. Sydney Carton replaced himself in Charles’ place in the jail, sacrificing his life for saving the life of husband of the woman whom he loved. Other characters, Jarvis Lorry, Defarge couple, Mrs. Pross, and others walked with the story, making its flow lucid and the contents rich.
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