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A Tale of Two Cities Short Summary: Plot Overview

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It is the year 1775, and France, as well as England, are awash with social ills. Jerry cruncher delivers an urgent message to Jarvis Lorry vie the Dover mail-coach.  In the message, he gets instruction to wait at Dover for Lucie Manette, an orphan whose supposedly dead father is alive in France. They both go to Paris a meet Dr. Manette who is now a mad man who makes shoes. The love between daughter and father recall Manette to sanity.

In 1780, Charles Darnay got accused of treason against the English throne. He was suspected of spying. Stryver, his lawyer pleads his case but not until Sydney carton, a useless drunkard comes to his defense leading to his acquittal.

Back in France, Marquis Evremonde goes to meet Darnay, his nephew. However, Darnay curses his uncle, and within the same night, Marquis gets murdered.

Meanwhile in Paris, John Barsad, an English spy sneaks into Defarge’s wine shop to deliver evidence of the upcoming revolution. Defarge is also creating a secret registry of individuals targeted for execution by the revolution.

In 1789, the revolution began, and the Paris peasants storm the Bastille killing aristocrats in the streets.  Gavelle, the maintainer of the Evermonde estate is imprisoned. He writes to Darnay 3 years later for rescue, but Darnay leaves for France.

In France, he is arrested and imprisoned for some time. Manette then gets him acquitted though his influence. However, he is re-arrested the same night under accusations from Defarge and his vindictive wife.

During Darnay’s trial, Manette discovers some damning evidence against the Evermondes. Fearing that they might be reported, they have Manette arrested. The jury proceeds to condemn Darnay for all crimes committed by his ancestors. However, Сarton visits darned in prison, tricks him into exchanging clothes, and after dictating an explanation letter, drags him unconscious. Barsad then carries Darnay (disguised as carton) to a coach. Meanwhile, Carton (disguised as Darnay) awaits the guillotine.

As Darnay and his family fled to Paris, Defarge arrives hoping to arrest Lucile. However, she gets into an altercation with Miss Pross in which she dies through her own gun’s bullet. Carton then dies at the guillotine. The narrator then asserts that carton had finally died knowing he had given meaning to his life.

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