Short summary - A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens

XVIII century. A senior official of a well-known banking office travels to France with a very difficult assignment: he must inform the daughter of his old client, Lucy Manette, that her father is alive. Dr. Manette spent eighteen years in the Bastille, all this time his family did not know anything about him. The daughter believed that his father had long died. Lucy is struck by the news. Together with the employee, she goes to pick up her father. Staying in a state of great mental distress, Dr. Manette lived with his old servant and did not realize that he was already free. Lucy and his father go to England. Daughters manage to awaken his father to life, now he rarely remembers what he experienced and lives almost normally.

Five years later, the Manette family is involved in the trial of Charles Darnay, who is accused of high treason. Thanks to the efforts of Cardboard's lawyer, Darnay is fully acquitted and released. Charles and Lucy fall in love and get married.

Charles Darnay lives in England under a strange name, in France he belonged to an aristocratic family, of which he tried in every possible way to disown himself, renouncing inheritance rights. His French family is known for its cruel attitude to ordinary people. It is precisely for this that the marquise, uncle Charles, is killed by the so-called patriots, future revolutionaries, and his whole family is sentenced to destruction. When Lucy's father finds out that Darnay is a descendant of the Marquis, a new attack occurs with him: the Marquis contributed to Manette’s illegal imprisonment.

In France, a revolution begins, the masses seize power. Chaos begins in the country, the French aristocracy flees, the king is captured, old laws are replaced by new ones, another, new life is raging, with violence against those who oppressed the people for many centuries. Charles Darnay decides to go to Paris to save his manager from reprisal.

He secretly leaves his family for France, where he is arrested and imprisoned as a representative of the hated aristocracy. The whole family of Charles comes to Paris to rescue him. Dr. Manette, whom the revolutionaries respect for his difficult prison past, is unleashing a storm of activity and setting everyone up for Charles. Two years later, the court found Charles not guilty and released from custody. On the same day, he is again arrested on a denunciation of three persons: the old servant, whom Manneth lived with after the Bastille, his obsessed revenge of his wife and some unknown person.

Charles begins a new trial. The public is told that the third person to denounce Charles is Lucy's father. It turned out that after the assault on the Bastille, the old servant searched Manett’s former cell and found a diary written by him in which Dr. Manette tells the story of the abuse of his father and uncle Darnay over the family of peasants: a pregnant peasant woman was raped, her husband was tortured to death, the woman’s brother was stabbed, and her sister hid in the middle of nowhere. Manette was invited to the Marquise's house to look after the raped peasant woman and her brother. They talked about the outrages of the Marquis, and the doctor decided to inform the Minister about this. However, the report did not reach, and Manette himself was imprisoned in the Bastille. In the diary, he curses the entire genus of marquises. After reading these notes aloud, Charles had no chance:

Dr. Manette can do nothing for Charles and is again unconscious. Charles is saved by lawyer Cardboard, who is in love with Lucy and is ready for anything not only for her, but for the sake of her whole family. He shares a similarity with Darnay and helps him escape by staying in the cell instead. Darney and his family safely leave France. Cardboard executed instead of Charles.

The wife of the old servant is the sister of that peasant woman who was abused by Charles's father and uncle. She wants to exterminate the entire Darnay family, including his wife. Her plans are destroyed by teacher Lucy, who kills the avenger.

The story ends with a description of subsequent events: a large number of "patriots" very soon followed their victims to the guillotine. Charles and Lucy named their child after Cardboard and passed it on to their descendants.