A Tale Of Two Cities: Dr. Alexandre Manette
Dr. Alexandre Manette the great survivor of the Bastille and father to
Lucie Manette. Dr.Manette is the most important character in the book.
Throughout the book he is the stories backbone. Few subplots ignore Manette.
Dr. Manette loves his daughter. She is the world to him, without her he
would still be a crazed old man. Dr. Manette's love for his daughter is clear
throughout the story he expresses his thought verbally. When his daughter Lucie
is married he tells her "Consider how natural and how plain it is, my dear, that
it should be so. You, devoted and young, cannot fully appreciate the anxiety I
have felt that your life should not be wasted."1 Dr.Manette is a very caring man.
Caring, that is the one adjective I would use to describe Dr.Manette.
As I said before Dr.Manette loves his daughter. Lucie Manette is his
driving force. Dr.Manette wants little except for his daughter to live a full
and happy life and himself to be a part of it. His desire to be a part of Lucie
life makes it hard for him to give her up to Charles Darnay. After the wedding
Dr.Manette says "Take her, Charles. She is yours."2 He does so with a quite
A huge portion of the story revolves about Dr.Manette's past suffering in
the Bastille. The Doctors Bastille time is pure hell. Ever after being freed he
still mumbles crazy things such as "It is a lady's shoe. It is a young lady's
walking-shoe. It is in the present mode. I have had a pattern in my hand."3
Outbursts such as that show that he is not nor may he ever heal his scars.
Though the book starts after his imprisonment, his Bastille time contains his
actions that effects the stories plot the most. The action that truly stands out
is his writing and hiding of the letter that later convicts Charles Darnay. The
exposure of the letter during the trail is in my opinion the most interesting
twist in A Tale Of Two Cities.
Dr.Manette has few contacts with the Defarges however in my opinion the
doctors main conflict is with them. In the Defarge's quest for vengeance against
the Evermondes they come upon apposing paths with the doctor. The Defarges want
Darnay dead. The doctor can not let Darnay die for he has become a large part of
his daughters life. The death of Darnay would bare heavily on Lucie's shoulders.
We see this when Lucie pleas with Madam Defarge commanding "You will be good to
my poor husband. You will do him no harm. You will help me to see him if you
I did not really like the character Dr.Manette. Not because he was a bad
person, I just didn't think he was that interesting. I found him dull. I think
the fact that I have grown up seeing characters like the Doctor on TV and in
movies may have caused my feelings. I need characters that are more original
(Dr.Manette of course is one of the originals). I think the books opening line "
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."5 sums up my feelings about
reading this book.
1Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.188
2Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.194
3Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.49
4Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.265
5Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859, p.13
Dickens, Charles. A Tale Of Two Cities. Signet Classic, 1859.