Study Guide

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Sydney Carton

Sydney Carton, the legal assistant to Mr. Stryver, a successful London barrister. A drunkard and a misanthrope, he has no aim or purpose in his life until he meets Lucie Manette and falls secretly in love with her. Because of his remarkable physical resemblance to Charles Darnay, who becomes Lucie’s husband, he is able to sacrifice himself on the guillotine in Darnay’s place, a deed that finally gives a real meaning to his life in his own eyes.

Charles Darnay

Charles Darnay, in reality Charles St. Evrémonde (shahrl sah[n]-teh-vray-MOHN), an émigré and an antiaristocrat who has renounced his title. In England, where he becomes a teacher of languages, he finds happiness and success as the husband of Lucie Manette. When he returns to France to aid an agent of the St. Evrémonde family who has been captured by the revolutionists, he himself is arrested and condemned to the guillotine. He escapes because Sydney Carton takes his place in prison. Darnay returns to England with his wife and her father.

Lucie Manette

Lucie Manette (lew-SEE mah-NEHT), a beautiful young French woman, closely connected with political events in France. Her father, a physician, had been a prisoner in the Bastille for many years, sent there because he had acquired knowledge of the hidden crimes of the St. Evrémonde family. Her husband, Charles Darnay, is a member of that family and is condemned to the guillotine during the Revolution. He escapes death through the efforts of his wife, her father, and Sydney Carton. Throughout these trials, Lucie remains level-headed, practical, and devoted.

Dr. Alexander Manette

Dr. Alexander Manette, Lucie’s father, a doctor imprisoned for many years in the Bastille in France because he aided a poor servant girl who was forced to become the mistress of the Marquis St. Evrémonde, Charles Darnay’s uncle. Dr. Manette loses his mind in the Bastille and becomes obsessed with making shoes. His mind mends after his release, but whenever he is reminded of his prison days, he seeks out his shoe bench and begins work. He tries to free Charles Darnay from the French prison by appealing to the sympathies of the revolutionists, but he is unsuccessful. At Darnay’s trial, a document written by the doctor while in prison is presented as evidence to secure the young aristocrat’s conviction and sentence of death.

Lucie

Lucie, her mother’s namesake, the small daughter of Charles Darnay and his wife.

Ernest Defarge

Ernest Defarge (deh-FAHRZH), a wineshop keeper in St. Antoine, a suburb of Paris. A former houseservant of Dr. Manette, he cares for his former master after he is released from the Bastille and before he goes to England. He is also one of the most radical of the revolutionists. With his wife, he tries to get Charles Darnay executed by producing the document Dr. Manette had written years before.

Madame Thérèse Defarge

Madame Thérèse Defarge (tay-REHZ), the wife of the wineshop keeper, a ruthless, cold woman who hates all aristocrats. Madame Defarge attends every guillotining and knits a stitch for each head that drops. She dies while struggling with Miss Pross, Lucie Darnay’s maid.

Mr. Stryver

Mr. Stryver, a self-centered, proud lawyer employed as Charles Darnay’s counsel when the young language teacher is accused of carrying treasonous papers between France and England. He is Sydney Carton’s patron and employer, a shrewd, determined man who looks years older than his actual age.

Miss Pross

Miss Pross, the devoted housekeeper who has looked after Lucie Manette from childhood. She is intelligent and physically strong. Left behind to cover their flight when the Manettes escape from Paris, she struggles with Madame Defarge, who tries to make her confess where the Manettes have gone. Madame Defarge is killed accidentally when her gun goes off. Miss Pross, deafened by the explosion, escapes with Jerry Cruncher and follows her master and mistress to freedom.

Monsieur the Marquis St. Evrémonde

Monsieur the Marquis St. Evrémonde, a cruel French aristocrat and Charles Darnay’s uncle. He kills a child when his coachman drives his horses too fast. The child’s father gains admittance to the chateau and kills the arrogant nobleman. The marquis and his breed are responsible for the peasants’ uprising, causing the French Revolution.

Gaspard

Gaspard (gahs-PAHR), the father of the child who was killed by the marquis’ fast horses. He succeeds in murdering the marquis by plunging a knife into the sleeping nobleman’s heart.

Théophile Gabelle

Théophile Gabelle (tay-oh-FEEL zhah-BEHL), a village postmaster and keeper of rents. Arrested by the revolutionists, he appeals to Charles Darnay in England for aid. In response to his plea, Darnay goes on his dangerous errand in France.

Solomon Pross

Solomon Pross, alias John Barsad, Miss Pross’s brother. A complete scoundrel, he abandons his sister after obtaining all of her money. Calling himself John Barsad, he becomes a spy for the English. He informs Madame Defarge of Charles Darnay’s marriage to Lucie Manette. He is a turnkey at the Conciergerie in Paris while Darnay is imprisoned there. Sydney Carton recognizes him but does not reveal his identity.

Jerry Cruncher

Jerry Cruncher, an employee at the London banking house of Tellson and Company by day, a resurrection man (grave robber) by night. Devoted to Lucie and her father, he aids in Charles Darnay’s escape from France.

Mrs. Cruncher

Mrs. Cruncher, his abused wife, whom he calls “Aggerawayter.” A pious woman, she thinks her husband’s night occupation unspeakably sinful, and she prays for his reformation.

Young Jerry Cruncher

Young Jerry Cruncher, their son. Guessing shrewdly, he has a good idea of the grim trade his father follows at night.

Jarvis Lorry

Jarvis Lorry, the confidential clerk of Tellson and Company. He is instrumental in getting Dr. Manette out of France into England, and he goes with the Manettes to Paris during the dark days of the Revolution while Charles Darnay, in prison, awaits his execution.

Jacques One

Jacques One (zhahk),

Jacques Two

Jacques Two,

Jacques Three

Jacques Three,

Jacques Four

Jacques Four, the name taken by Defarge, and

Jacques Five

Jacques Five, a group of revolutionists in the suburb of St. Antoine.

The Vengeance

The Vengeance, a female revolutionist, Madame Defarge’s lieutenant.

Roger Cly

Roger Cly, Solomon Pross’s partner and Charles Darnay’s former servant. He testifies falsely when Darnay is on trial at the Old Bailey. He is supposed to be dead and buried, but Jerry Cruncher knows that his coffin was empty.

A Tale of Two Cities Themes and Characters

Just before writing A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens acted the leading role in a play called The Frozen Deep written by his friend...

(The entire section is 1487 words.)

A Tale of Two Cities Characters

John Barsad
See Solomon Pross

Sydney Carton
Sydney Carton is a dissipated...

(The entire section is 2143 words.)