Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
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, 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 (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, her mother’s namesake, the small daughter of Charles Darnay and his wife.
(The entire section is 1097 words.)
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