35 'A Tale Of Two Cities' Facts: A Historical Novel By Charles Dickens

Jaba Sharma
Jan 23, 2024 By Jaba Sharma
Originally Published on Mar 13, 2022
Edited by Pete Anderson
Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala
'A Tale of Two Cities' Facts reveal that the historical fiction took place during French Revolution.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

A fiction historical novel 'A Tale of Two Cities' was written by Charles Dickens and got published in 1859.

The novel's plot occurs in two prominent cities Paris and London. The story of this novel is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the dictatorial regime.

The narrative of Doctor Manette, his confinement in Bastille for 18 long years, and his release to reside in London with his daughter Lucie are told in this book. It is an adventure novel since the characters are always in fear of being arrested or assassinated.

On the BBC's The Big Read survey in 2003, the book grabbed 63rd position. The tale has been adapted for movies, TV, theater, and radio and it continues to have a long-lasting cultural impact.


In 'A Tale Of Two Cities,' Dickens took into account the workings of a crowd, creating believable characters who act differently when the gang mentality takes hold.

Charles Darnay is a nobleman from the Evrémonde family of France. He is on prosecution for his life at the Old Bailey when he is presented and accused of espionage for the French monarchy. Disgusted by his family's cruelty to the French peasant class, he adopted the surname 'Darnay' and escaped France for England.

Sydney Carton is an English barrister, dubbed 'The Jackal' by Dickens due to his respect for Stryver.

Lucie Manette played the daughter of Doctor Manette. At the start of the tale, Dr. Manette has just been liberated from the Bastille after a dreadful 18 years as a prisoner.

Despite his feelings for Lucie, Sydney Carton considers himself unworthy for her hand in marriage, and she eventually marries Charles Darnay, with whom she is deeply in love, and gives him a daughter.

Darnay discloses his true name and pedigree to Doctor Manette on the morning of the wedding, information that Dr. Manette had ordered him to keep hidden till then.

Jarvis Lorry is a Tellson's Bank manager. He is the close buddy of Dr. Manette and acts as a trustee and custodian for the Manette family. Lorry flies to France in 1792 to safeguard critical documents from the upheaval of the French Revolution at Tellson's Paris office.

Monsieur Defarge, also known as Ernest, is the proprietor of a Paris wine shop and the Jacquerie's leader. He is loyal to Dr. Manette, having served him as a young servant.

He is among the most influential revolutionary leaders, and unlike most other revolutionaries, he considers the revolution to be a worthy cause. Defarge is significantly more moderate than some of the other participants, despite his firm belief in the values of revolution.

The Defarge's assist in the storming of the Bastille, an emblem of royal tyranny, in Paris in July 1789. Dr. Manette's previous cell, 105, North Tower, is searched exhaustively by Defarge.

Madame Defarge is a furious lady Revolutionary. She is the novel's villain.

Charles Darnay's uncle is Marquis St. Evrémonde. Gaspard, a peasant, murdered him in his bed.

Théophile Gabelle is the Postmaster, as well as some other taxation officials, who work for the Marquis St. Evrémonde's landlords. The revolutionaries imprison Gabelle, and his pleading letter leads Darnay to France.

Jerry Cruncher is Tellson's Bank's porter and messenger, as well as the bank's covert 'Resurrection Man.'

Movie Vs. Novel

Between the movie and Charles Dickens' classic 'A Tale of Two Cities', published in 1859, there are considerable differences and similarities in the depiction of events.

The book has more character interactions and a smoother flow between scenes, although the movie has a better explanation of some of the events.

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...' begins both the movie and the novel.

In both stories, the setting is defined, with the book presenting greater differences between the two cities.

When you watch how many peasants ran for the spilled wine, the movie provides you a much better sense; you can also see that the casket was larger than it appeared in the text, which explains why so many people ran for it.

The movie did a great job showing the change in the attitude of Sydney Carton.

Both the book and the movie showed the real character of Madame Defarge.

'A Tale of Two Cities' Facts explain that it deals with major themes of resurrection, duality, and revolution.

About Author

The most widely known work of historical fiction by Charles Dickens, 'A Tale of Two Cities' is regarded as one of the best-selling novels ever written.

Charles Dickens was undoubtedly the most famous English novelist of the Victorian times, recognized for his epic scope and realistic texture as well as his strong knowledge of the social challenges of his period.

In both his life and his works, Charles Dickens was a supporter of the poor. He experienced some of the hardships of poverty in England as a boy when he was forced to work in factories to support his family.

Dickens went on to become a reporter before beginning to write and sell fiction in the serialized format that was famous at the time.

His debut novel, 'The Pickwick Papers', was published in 1836 and became an instant hit.

Charles Dickens produced a massive body of work during the next three decades, encompassing novels, dramas, brief tales, and essays, with broad public popularity and literary quality.

Dickens distinguished himself as one of the finest novelists of 19th century England by supporting social problems in his writings, creating colorful, wonderful characters, and caring as much for his audience as he did for his writing.

'A Tale of Two Cities', a 45-chapter novel, was published in 31 weekly sections in Dickens' new literary journal, 'All the Year Round'.

Many claim that in 'A Tale of Two Cities', Dickens muses on his newfound romance with 18-year-old artist Ellen Ternan, which was maybe platonic but amorous. Physiologically, Lucie is said to mirror Ellen Ternan.


Doctor Alexandre Manette, Sydney Carton, and Darnay, the main protagonists in Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities', are resurrected, in various ways as the pandemonium unfolds.

Mr. Jarvis Lorry, a Tellson's Bank executive accompanies Lucie Manette to Paris in 1775. He knows that her father, Dr. Alexandre Manette, who has been missing for 18 years, is still alive.

He had been unfairly imprisoned and left to die in the Bastille. They travel to the house of Monsieur Defarge, a wine merchant when they arrive in Paris. Mr. Lorry and Lucie return to London with her father.

A teenage Frenchman called Charles Darnay is accused of being a rebel and spy five years later, in 1780. The prosecution invites multiple witnesses to testify that he is a spy, and they have strong evidence to back up their claims.

Sydney Carton, a lawyer in the court, is the one who brings Mr. Stryver's attention to the prisoner's likeness to himself. When the jury decides it was perhaps a false assertion, Darnay is found not guilty.

Darnay and Carton are both smitten with Lucie. Carton is an attorney who spends his days doing nothing but sitting and drinking. The Marquis St. Evremonde, his uncle, is a notorious figure known for his roughness and ruthlessness; he lives a rich lifestyle and has little respect for human life.

He murders a youngster on the street and refuses to assist a destitute widow who needs a gravestone for her husband's grave. He gets assassinated in his bed at the night.

The French Revolution bursts in all its fury with the assault of the Bastille. Madame Defarge seeks personal revenge against the Evremonde family, alleging that the heartless Marquis brutally murdered her sister. Because of her, Darnay is re-arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.

Even Lucie's and her daughter's lives are in peril, as hard-core revolutionaries like the Defarges seek to eliminate everyone with aristocratic roots. When the executions were about to commence, Carton executes his plan and gains entrance to the prison cell of Darnay with Solomon's unwilling help.

Sydney Carton resolves to save Darnay's life by taking his place at the end of the tale. Carton sacrifices his life for Darnay, his look-alike, while the Darnay family flees to England. He makes the sacrifice to keep a commitment to Lucie, whom he adores.


The key themes of resurrection, dualism, and revolution are explored in Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'. As political and economic turmoil led to the American and French Revolution, it was the best conditions and the worst of times in London and Paris.


What is the point of 'A Tale of Two Cities?'

Dickens affirms his conviction in the possibilities of resurrection and regeneration, both on an individual and societal basis, in 'A Tale of Two Cities.'

Is 'A Tale of Two Cities' a real story?

The plot of 'A Tale of Two Cities' is not based on real events or persons, hence it is not a real story. The tale, on the other hand, is based on true historical facts such as the French Revolution.

What is important about the title 'A Tale of Two Cities?'

The story's title relates to the two cities in which the action takes place. Its famous first phrase, 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,' also emphasizes the importance of the story's setting.

Who is the real hero of 'A Tale of Two Cities?'

Charles Darnay is the real hero of 'A Tale of Two Cities.'

How does the 'A Tale of Two Cities' end?

Sydney Carton, along with many other French captives, is hanged at the guillotine after the narrative.

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Written by Jaba Sharma

Master of Business Administration

Jaba Sharma picture

Jaba SharmaMaster of Business Administration

A highly skilled content writer and editor, Jaba brings over six years of experience in the field to her role. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Science from Lucknow University and a Master's degree in Business Administration with a specialization in finance from the Institute of Environment & Management, Lucknow. Jaba's meticulous approach and creative mindset naturally led her into the world of content writing. She began her career as a Website Content Writer and Backend Admin at EventTraveler Pvt. Ltd, where she gained extensive experience in creating web pages, writing, and editing content and conducting in-depth web research. 

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