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30+ Best 'A Tale Of Two Cities' Quotes For The Best Of Times

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A Tale Of Two Cities' is a true classic with classic quotes

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A Tale Of Two Cities' is a historical novel written by Charles Dickens.

The novel was published in 1859. It is set in the European cities of Paris and London.

Charles Dickens wrote two historical novels during his lifetime. The other one is ‘Barnaby Rudge: A Tale Of The Riots Of Eighty’, published in 1841. The setting of 'A Tale Of Two Cities' is before and during the great French Revolution of 1789, and the book is considered to be the best work of Dickens. It was also adapted into a movie in 1936. The movie is also titled ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. It was directed by Jack Conway and starred Ronald Colman and Elizabeth Allan in the lead roles. Other adaptations of the novel include television shows, radio, and stage theatre have all been created as well.

Dicken’s novel was one of the bestselling novels of all time with more than 200 million copies being sold. However, this is just an estimate of the number of copies sold and no accurate number has been put forward by any publishing houses. ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ was also ranked 63rd on the Big Read Poll by the BBC. It also produced the "it was the best of times" quote, which is a classic line that will live on forever.

The storyline of Charles Dickens' 'A Tale Of Two Cities' revolves around the life of Doctor Manette who is imprisoned for 18 years in Bastille Saint Antoine in Paris. He was released after 18 years and went to live in London with Lucie, his daughter, whom he had not met before. The setting of the story is in and about the conditions that led to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ is based on real-life historical events but it is not a real story. The main idea behind Charles Dickens' 'A Tale Of Two Cities' is the concept of resurrection, as throughout the story he metaphorically brings his characters back to life. For instance, Doctor Manette is freed from the prison while Carton is spiritually resurrected through his sacrifice. The main literary device used in the story is irony. Dickens used verbal, situational, and dramatic irony to create twists and turns throughout the story. He did a great job at keeping readers glued to the story to the very end.

The characters in ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ include Jerry Cruncher, Jarvis Lorry, Lucie Manette, Monsieur Defarge, Madame Defarge, Dr. Alexandre Manette, Mrs Cruncher, Charles Darnay, John Barsad, Sydney Carton, Miss Pross, Marquis St. Evrémonde, Théophile Gabelle, the Mender of Roads, Mr Stryver, and others.

This article has a list of Charles Dickens' 'A Tale Of Two Cities' quotes. If you like them, make sure to check out these Charles Dickens quotes and ['Oliver Twist' quotes] for more great quotes from Charles Dickens.

Dr Manette Quotes From Charles Dickens' 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Dr. Manette was Lucie’s father. He was a brilliant physician who spent 18 years of his life in prison in Bastille before the French Revolution. He is imprisoned after finding out about the abusive actions by two members of the Evrémonde family, an aristocratic French family. When Dr. Manette tried to report the actions of these nobles to a minister of the Ryal Government, he was imprisoned under a lettre de cachet. A Lettre de cachet was a letter signed by the King of France. Found below are some quotes about Dr. Manette from ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. Which quote will you discover?

1. “She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always.”

- Dr. Manette, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

2. “The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no doubt had their part in it. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse.”

- Dr. Manette, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

3. “What private solicitude could rear itself against the deluge of the Year One of Liberty—the deluge rising from below, not falling from above, and with the windows of Heaven shut, not opened!”

- Dr. Manette, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Miss Pross Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Miss Pross is Lucie Manette’s friend. She is a governess and the sister of Solomon Pross. She accompanies Lucie throughout the novel and acts as her constant companion. She becomes deaf on hearing the sound of the pistol which kills Madame Defarge, and this traumatic event also causes her to experience psychological shock. Here are some 'A Tale Of Two Cities' Miss Pross quotes to explore.

4. “Miss Pross recalled soon afterwards, and to the end of her life remembered… there was a braced purpose in the arm and a kind of inspiration in the eyes, which not only contradicted his light manner, but changed and raised the man.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

5. "I am desperate. I don't care an English Twopence for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater hope there is for my Ladybird."

- Miss Pross, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Charles Darnay Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Charles Darnay is a wealthy gentleman who is put to trial for treason against the kingdom of Great Britain in the novel. Darnay marries Lucie Manette. He is arrested and imprisoned and is about to be executed, but Sydney Carton replaces him during the execution so that Darnay could happily live with Lucie Manette.

6. "We have so asserted our station, both in the old time and in the modern time also... that I believe our name to be more detested than any name in France."

- Charles Darnay, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

7. “As an emotion of the mind will express itself through any covering of the body, so the paleness which his situation engendered came through the brown upon his cheek, showing the soul to be stronger than the sun.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Jarvis Lorry Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Jarvis Lorry is a bachelor who worked at the Tellson’s Bank. He also took Lucie to London when she was a child and her father was imprisoned in Paris. In the book, Jarvis Lorry is later seen as a 60-year-old man who went with Lucie to reunite with her father after 18 years.

8. "If you knew what a conflict goes on in the business mind, when the business mind is divided between good-natured impulse and business appearances, you would be amused, Mr. Darnay."

- Jarvis Lorry, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

9. “These are mere business relations, miss; there is no friendship in them, no particular interest, nothing like sentiment. I have passed from one to another, in the course of my business life, just as I pass from one of our customers to another in the course of my business day; in short, I have no feelings; I am a mere machine.”

- Jarvis Lorry, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Lucie Manette Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Lucie Manette is Dr. Alexandre Manette’s daughter in ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. She is a kind, loving and wise girl. She falls in love with Charles Darnay, who is a wealthy gentleman and she remains faithful and loyal to Darnay while he is imprisoned. Found below are some 'A Tale Of Two Cities' quotes about Lucie Manette for you to enjoy.

10. "If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it!"

- Lucie Manette, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

11. "I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost—not him!"

- Lucie Manette, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Sydney Carton Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Sydney Carton is an important character in Dicken’s novel. He is a young Englishman who falls in love with Lucie Manette as she tries to inspire him to become a better man. However, Lucie does not marry him, as we know she married Darnay. At the end of the novel, Carton exchanges positions with Darnay because Darnay was about to be executed in France. Thus, he gave his life because of his love for Lucie. In the novel, Lucie and Darnay name their second child Carton as a touching tribute to Sydney Carton. Find the character's best quotes here.

12. "I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day."

- Sydney Carton., 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

13. “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.”

- Sydney Carton., 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

14. "I am not old, but my young way was never the way to age. Enough of me."

- Sydney Carton, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Madame Defarge Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Madame Defarge is Ernest Defarge’s wife. She is portrayed as an important revolutionary during the French Revolution. Some historians also believe the character of Madame Defarge was based on Théroigne de Mericourt, who was a great revolutionary in real life. However, Defarge is the main villain in the novel. She is obsessed with taking revenge on the Evrémondes. Some of the quotes by Madame Defarge from ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ are given below.

15. "I care nothing for this Doctor, I. He may wear his head or lose it, for any interest I have in him; it is all one to me. But, the Evrémonde people are to be exterminated, and the wife and child must follow the husband and father."

- Madame Defarge, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

16. "My husband, fellow-citizen, is a good Republican and a bold man; he has deserved well of the Republic, and possesses its confidence. But my husband has his weaknesses, and he is so weak as to relent towards this Doctor."

- Madame Defarge, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

17. "But it is your weakness that you sometimes need to see your victim and your opportunity, to sustain you. Sustain yourself without that. When the time comes, let loose a tiger and a devil; but wait for the time with the tiger and the devil chained—not shown—yet always ready."

- Madame Defarge, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Popular Quotes From 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

A list of popular quotes from ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ is given below. These 'A Tale Of Two Cities' quotes are perfect to get a glimpse of the story.

Some 'A Tale Of Two Cities' quotes are relatable even today

18. “Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

19. “Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

20. "There is a great crowd coming one day into our lives, if that be so."

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

21. “The cloud of caring for nothing, which overshadowed him with such a fatal darkness, was very rarely pierced by the light within him.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

22. “Towards that small and ghostly hour, [Mr. Cruncher] rose up from his chair, took a key out of his pocket, opened a locked cupboard, and brought forth a sack, a crowbar of convenient size, a rope and chain, and other fishing tackle of that nature.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

23. “In the moonlight which is always sad, as the light of the sun itself is - as the light called human life is - at its coming and its going.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

24. “You touch some of the reasons for my going, not for my staying away.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

25. “Eighteen years! Gracious Creator of day! To be buried alive for eighteen years!”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

The First Lines Of 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

The opening lines of Charles Dickens' 'A Tale Of Two Cities' form a very catchy paragraph. The novel starts with the iconic "it was the best of times" quotes. Undoubtedly, Dickens did a great job with the opening lines as they are successful in catching the reader's attention from the very first statement.

26. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

27. “We had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Important Quotes In 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

Given below are some 'A Tale Of Two Cities' important quotes by Charles Dickens. The last line of the novel is spoken by Sydney Carton before he is executed at the guillotine. He says: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." This is another iconic line from the book that is loved by many.

People all over the world love Charles Dickens and his works

28. “For I'm the devil at quick mistakes, and when I make one it takes the form of Lead.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

29. “But indeed, at that time, putting to death was a recipe much in vogue with all trades and professions, and not least of all with Tellson's. Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislation's?”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

30. "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

31. “I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

32. “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”

- Charles Dickens, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

33. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

- Sydney Carton, 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 30+ of the best 'A Tale Of Two Cities' quotes for the best of times, then why not take a look at these 'Great Expectations' quotes or 'A Christmas Carol' quotes for more?

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