A Tale of Two Cities: Character Profiles

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Mr. Jarvis Lorry:  a business minded banker of the respectable Tellson's Bank. He was once attached to the bank's Paris branch where he carried the infant Lucie Manette to safety in England after her father's disappearance and her mother's subsequent death. Fifteen years later (at the beginning of the novel) he returns to Paris with Lucie to meet her father. He becomes a close friend of the family and later, on a business trip to revolutionary France to recover valuable bank documents, becomes instrumental in their flight to safety.

Miss Lucie Manette:  the only child of Doctor Manette and the means of his salvation when she nurses him back to health after eighteen years of debilitating imprisonment. She is courted by several men but falls in love with Charles Darnay with whom she has two children, Little Lucie and a son who dies while still very young. She goes to revolutionary France with her father in order to try and save her husband's life.

Monsieur and Madame Defarge: the proprietors of a wine shop in the Saint Antoine district of Paris. Monsieur Defarge was once a servant of Doctor Manette and shelters him upon the latter's release from prison. Madame Defarge is the second daughter of a family that suffers horribly at the hands of the Evremonde's. Their shop forms the hub of the revolutionary society of "Jacques" and both Defarges are instrumental in bringing the revolution to fruition and pursuing its bloody aims. Madame Defarge keeps a register of those the revolution condemns to destruction in the pattern of her knitting and would like to see the entire Evremonde family, including Luice and her daughter, exterminated. Monsieur Defarge is no less passionate in persecuting the aristocracy than his wife but he balks at the suggestion that the doctor's family should be killed as well. Miss Pross inadvertently kills Madame Defarge.

Doctor Alexandre Manette: A wrongfully imprisoned inmate of the Bastille for eighteen solitary years, during which time he engaged in shoemaking to give structure to his days, Dr. Manette returns to England with his daughter where he recovers his senses and re-engages his medical practice. When the French revolutionaries imprison his son-in-law, Charles Darnay, he finds new strength and purpose by using his status as an ex-prisoner to have him freed. When Darnay is re-arrested and condemned to die because of evidence contained in a letter written while the doctor was a prisoner many years before, he once again loses his senses before the family is finally able to escape.

Charles Darany nee Evremonde: the nephew of the cruel Marquis St. Evremonde, Charles renounces his family and moves to England to teach the French language. He befriends the Manettes eventually marries Lucie. He returns to France and visits his uncle the night before the Marquis is murdered. Later he travels to Paris during the revolution to try to help a former servant and is arrested as an aristocrat.

Sydney Carton: a morose but brilliant barrister whose observation on his similarity to Charles Darnay serves to acquit the latter at his first trial. Carton is a drunkard who considers himself irredeemable and incapable of greatness until he meets Lucie Manette and pledges to give his life for her happiness. He trades places with Darnay shortly before the latter's execution. He recognizes that this sacrifice is the most worthwhile act of his life and he goes to Guillotine confident and serene.

Miss Pross: the lifelong servant and caregiver to Lucie Manette. She is brusque and hardworking and serves as the female counterpart to Mr. Lorry. Miss Pross is fiercely protective of Lucie and kills Madame Defarge while fighting to protect her.

Jerry Cruncher: serves with his son as Tellson's official messenger. He also works occasionally as a "Resurrection Man" in which occupation he steals fresh bodies from graves to sell to doctors for use in their studies. He cannot abide his wife praying, or as he calls it "flopping", and insists it is the reason that his affairs do not achieve more success. He travels with Mr. Lorry to Paris during the revolution and serves the Manette's during their time of tribulation during which he renounces his grave-digging profession and regrets his mistreatment of Mrs. Cruncher.

Mr. Stryver: a career-minded lawyer who uses Sydney Carton's ability to help him win cases. He intends to ask Lucie Manette's hand in marriage but is dissuaded by Mr. Lorry and ultimately convinces himself that he was nearly beguiled into a profitless marriage by the girl. Later he marries a wealthy widow and is offended when Darnay refuses to teach her sons. He is an opportunist but socially successful.