A Tale of Two Cities

Characters

In order of appearance:

Book the First (November 1775)

Chapter 2

  • Jerry Cruncher: Porter and messenger for Tellson's Bank and secret "Resurrection Man" (body-snatcher); though rough and abusive towards his wife, he provides courageous service to the Manettes in Book the Third. His first name is short for Jeremiah; the latter name shares a meaning with the name of Jarvis Lorry.
  • Jarvis Lorry: A manager at Tellson's Bank: "...a gentleman of sixty ... Very orderly and methodical he looked ... He had a good leg, and was a little vain of it..." He is a dear friend of Dr. Manette and serves as a sort of trustee and guardian of the Manette family. The bank places him in charge of the Paris branch during the Revolution, putting him in position to provide life-saving service to the Manettes in Book the Third. The end of the book reveals that he lives to be eighty-eight.

Chapter 4

  • Lucie Manette: Daughter of Dr. Manette; an ideal pre-Victorian lady, perfect in every way. About seventeen when the novel begins, she is described as short and slight with a "pretty figure, a quantity of golden hair, a pair of blue eyes..." Although Sydney Carton is in love with her, he declares himself an unsuitable candidate for her hand in marriage and instead she marries Charles Darnay, with whom she is very much in love, and bears him a daughter. However, Lucie genuinely cares about Carton's welfare and defends him when he is criticized by others. She is the "golden thread" after whom Book the Second is named, so called because she holds her father's and her family's lives together (and because of her blond hair like her mother's). She also ties nearly every character in the book together.[12]

Chapter 5

  • Monsieur Defarge: Given name Ernest, he is the owner of a Paris wine shop and leader of the Jacquerie. "A bull-necked, martial-looking man of thirty ... He was a dark man altogether, with good eyes and a good bold breadth between them." He is devoted to Dr. Manette having been his servant as a youth. One of the key Revolutionary leaders, in which he is known as Jacques Four, he embraces the Revolution as a noble cause, unlike many other revolutionaries. Though he truly believes in the principles of the Revolution, Defarge is far more moderate than some of the other participants (notably his wife).
  • Madame Defarge: Given name Thérèse; a vengeful female Revolutionary, she is arguably the novel's antagonist and is presented as a more extreme and bloodthirsty personality than her husband Ernest. "There were many women at that time, upon whom the time laid a dreadfully disfiguring hand; but, there was not one among them more to be dreaded than this ruthless woman ... Of a strong and fearless character, of shrewd sense and readiness, of great determination, of that kind of beauty which not only seems to impart to its possessor firmness and animosity, but to strike into others an instinctive recognition of those qualities." The source of her implacable hatred of the Evrémonde family is revealed late in the novel to be the rape of her sister and killing of her brother when she was a child.
  • Jacques One, Two, and Three: Revolutionary compatriots of Ernest Defarge. Jacques Three is especially bloodthirsty and serves as a juryman on the Revolutionary Tribunals.

Chapter 6

  • Dr. Alexandre Manette: Lucie's father; when the book opens, he has just been released after a ghastly eighteen years as a prisoner in the Bastille. Weak, afraid of sudden noises, barely able to carry on a conversation, he is taken in by his faithful former servant Defarge who then turns him over to Jarvis Lorry and the daughter he has never met. He achieves recovery and contentment with her, her eventual husband Charles Darnay, and their little daughter. All his happiness is put at risk in Book the Third when Madame Defarge resolves to send Evrémonde/Darnay to the guillotine, regardless of his having renounced the Evrémondes' wealth and cruelty. At the same time, the reader learns the cause of Dr. Manette's imprisonment: he had rendered medical care to Madame Defarge's brother and sister following the injuries inflicted on them by the Evrémonde twins back in 1757; the Evrémondes decided he couldn't be allowed to expose them.

Book the Second (Five years later)

Chapter 1

  • Mrs Cruncher: Wife of Jerry Cruncher. She is a very religious woman, but her husband, somewhat paranoid, claims she is praying (what he calls "flopping") against him, and that is why he does not often succeed at work. Jerry often verbally and, almost as often, physically abuses her, but at the end of the story, he appears to feel a bit guilty about this.
  • Young Jerry Cruncher: Son of Jerry and Mrs Cruncher. Young Jerry often follows his father around to his father's odd jobs, and at one point in the story, follows his father at night and discovers that his father is a Resurrection Man. Young Jerry looks up to his father as a role model and aspires to become a Resurrection Man himself when he grows up.

Chapter 2

  • Charles Darnay: A Frenchman of the noble Evrémonde family; "...a young man of about five-and-twenty, well-grown and well-looking, with a sunburnt cheek and a dark eye." When introduced, he is on trial for his life at the Old Bailey on charges of spying on behalf of the French crown. In disgust at the cruelty of his family to the French peasantry, he took on the name "Darnay" (after his mother's maiden name, D'Aulnais) and left France for England.[13] He and Lucie Manette fall deeply in love, they marry, and she gives birth to a daughter. He exhibits an admirable honesty in his decision to reveal to Dr Manette his true identity as a member of the infamous Evrémonde family. He puts his family's happiness at risk with his courageous decision to return to Paris to save the imprisoned Gabelle, who, unbeknownst to him, has been coerced into luring him there. Once in Paris, he is stunned to discover that, regardless of his rejection of his family's exploitative and abusive record, he is imprisoned incommunicado simply for being an aristocrat. Released after the testimony of Dr Manette, he is re-arrested and sentenced to be guillotined owing to Madame Defarge's undying hatred of all Evrémondes. This death sentence provides the pretext for the novel's climax.

Chapter 3

  • John Barsad (real name Solomon Pross): An informer in London and later employed by the Marquis St. Evrémonde. When introduced at Charles Darnay's trial, he is giving damning evidence against the defendant but it becomes clear to the reader that he is an oily, untrustworthy character. Moving to Paris he takes service as a police spy in the Saint Antoine district, under the French monarchy. Following the Revolution, he becomes an agent for Revolutionary France (at which point he must hide his British identity). Although a man of low character, his position as a spy allows him to arrange for Sydney Carton's final heroic act (after Carton blackmails him with revealing his duplicity).
  • Roger Cly: Barsad's collaborator in spying and giving questionable testimony. Following his chaotic funeral procession in Book the Second, Chapter 14, his coffin is dug up by Jerry Cruncher and his fellow Resurrection Men. In Book the Third, Jerry Cruncher reveals that in fact the casket contained only rocks and that Cly was clearly still alive and no doubt carrying on his spying activities.
  • Mr Stryver: An ambitious barrister, senior partner to Sydney Carton.[14] "... a man of little more than thirty, but looking twenty years older than he was, stout, loud, red, bluff, and free from any drawback of delicacy..."; he wants to marry Lucie Manette because he believes that she is attractive enough. However, he is not truly in love with her and in fact treats her condescendingly. Jarvis Lorry suggests that marrying Lucie would be unwise and Stryver, after thinking it over, talks himself out of it, later marrying a rich widow instead.
  • Sydney Carton: A quick-minded and highly intelligent but depressed English barrister, referred to by Dickens as "The Jackal" because of his deference to Stryver. When introduced, he is a hard-drinking cynic, having watched Stryver advance while never taking advantage of his own considerable gifts: Dickens writes that the sun rose "upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible to the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away." In love with Lucie Manette, she cares about him but more as a concerned mother figure than a potential mate. He ultimately becomes a selfless hero, redeeming everything by sacrificing his life for a worthy cause.

Chapter 6

  • Miss Pross: Lucie Manette's governess since Lucie was ten years old: "... one of those unselfish creatures—found only among women—who will, for pure love and admiration, bind themselves willing slaves, to youth when they have lost it, to beauty that they never had..." She is fiercely loyal to Lucie and to England. She believes her long-lost brother Solomon, now the spy and perjurer John Barsad, is "the one man worthy of Ladybird," ignoring the fact that he "was a heartless scoundrel who had stripped her of everything she possessed, as a stake to speculate with, and had abandoned her in her poverty for evermore..." She is not afraid to physically fight those she believes are endangering the people she loves. She permanently loses her hearing when the fatal pistol shot goes off during her climactic fight with Madame Defarge.

Chapter 7

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  • "Monseigneur": An unnamed generic aristocrat whose extraordinary decadence and self-absorption, described in detail, are used by Dickens to characterize the ancien régime in general. "The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur." His fellow nobles also luxuriate in vast wealth, but this does not inoculate them from feeling envy and resentment: as the Marquis St. Evrémonde leaves Monseigneur's house "with his hat under his arm and his snuff-box in his hand", he turns to the latter's bedroom and quietly says, "I devote you ... to the Devil!" When the Revolution begins, Monseigneur puts on his cook's clothing and ignominiously flees, escaping with only his life.
  • Marquis St. Evrémonde:[15] Uncle of Charles Darnay: "...a man of about sixty, handsomely dressed, haughty in manner, and with a face like a fine mask." Determined to preserve the traditional prerogatives of the nobility until the end of his life, he is the twin brother of Charles Darnay's late father; both men were exceptionally arrogant and cruel to peasants. Lamenting reforms which have imposed some restraints on the abusive powers of his class, the Marquis is out of favor at the royal court at the time of his assassination. Murdered in his bed by the peasant Gaspard.
  • Gaspard: A peasant whose son is run over and killed by the Marquis St. Evrémonde's carriage. He plunges a knife into Evrémonde's heart, pinning a note that reads, "Drive him fast to his tomb," a reference to the careless speed that caused his little boy's death. After being in hiding for a year, he is found, arrested, and executed.
  • The Mender of Roads: A peasant who later works as a woodsawyer; the Defarges bring him into a conspiracy against the aristocracy, where he is referred to as Jacques Five.

Chapter 8

  • Théophile Gabelle: Gabelle is "the Postmaster, and some other taxing functionary, united"[16] for the tenants of the Marquis St. Evrémonde. Gabelle is imprisoned by the revolutionaries, and his beseeching letter brings Darnay to France. Gabelle is "named after the hated salt tax".[17]

Book the Third (Autumn 1792)

Chapter 3

  • The Vengeance: A companion of Madame Defarge referred to as her "shadow" and lieutenant, a member of the sisterhood of women revolutionaries in Saint Antoine, and Revolutionary zealot. (Many Frenchmen and women did change their names to show their enthusiasm for the Revolution.[18]) Carton predicts that the Vengeance, Defarge, Cly, and Barsad will be consumed by the Revolution and end up on the guillotine.

Chapter 13

  • The Seamstress: "...a young woman, with a slight girlish form, a sweet spare face in which there was no vestige of colour, and large widely opened patient eyes..." Having been caught up in The Terror, she strikes up a conversation with the man she assumes is Evrémonde in the large room where the next day's guillotine victims are gathered. When she realizes that another man has taken Charles Darnay's place, she admires his sacrifice and asks if she can hold his hand during their tumbrel ride to the place of execution.

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