Alexandre Manette, who is a French doctor, has been a prisoner in the terrible Bastille prison for many years. He is found in Ernest Defarge's house by his daughter Lucie and Mr Lorry who have gone to Paris to search for him. He is mentally ill when he is living in Paris. They take him back to London, where his health and memory gradually improve.
Meanwhile, the revolution in France has begun and the royal government has collapsed. Darley goes back to France in order to save his former servant, yet accused as an émigré and has been arrested by the Republicans . He is followed by Lucie and Dr Manette, who is fully recovered. He helps him to get out of the prison and back to their home in Paris.
Darley becomes a prisoner again charged by the Defarges because of a letter Dr Manette written in the Bastille prison. His father and uncle commit crimes of murder and witnessed by the doctor. He is sentenced to death, but Carton replaces him and is willing to die for Lucie. The family escapes from Paris while Carton is executed by the guillotine.
The writer, Charles Dickens, intended to convey the cruelty of the French Revolution by the story of Darley. The trial against the aristocrats is not fair and equitable. Thus tens of thousands of people who were innocent were executed. Nevertheless, he also wrote about how the members of the nobility tortured civilians. Their suffering of the poverty and misery caused the brutal French Revolution.
"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, 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."
It's the most famous quote of this book. For the poor, the French Revolution releases them and changes their destinies. However it is a nightmare for the aristocrats as they are arrested and executed, it changes their dsetinies, whereas in a totally different way. It proves that one thing can have a positive influence on one person, but it may work in an opposite way to the others.
"Your life is on your hand."