In A Tale of Two Cities, how does the reoccurrence of Dr. Mannette's shoemaking symptoms foreshadow the end of the narrative?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A character intrinsic to the plot of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Dr. Manette is pivotal to the sequence of events.  For, his duality of personality--physician and madman--points to the conditions of London as well as of Paris.  Whether in peace or conflict, Dickens perceived society as a prison in which one was confined to his/her social status. Like his senseless shoemaking, Manette's part in the world of the revolution in France is ineffective as both his early and later attempts to defend individuals against the forces of fate are unsuccessful.  When he reports the atrocities of the Evremonde's, nothing is done.  Then, the letter that he has written and hidden in the Bastille's North Tower is discovered and his son-in-law is fatefully brought to trial in Paris as an Evremonde.

As he regresses into his madness after learning that Charles Darnay is the son of the Marquis d'Evremonde, and again when his efforts to save Darnay fail, Dr. Manette's pounding of leather as a cobbler symbolizes the irresistible march of fate--the "Echoing Footsteps" that Lucie continually hears.  This fate is pivotal to the plot of A Tale of Two Cities, and Dr. Manette's duality advances the plot to its fateful end.