The journey of Dr. Manetteâ€™s life (from Charles Dickensâ€™s Tale of Two Cities) intertwined with key events from the French Revolution.
Created by kkinsella on Apr 5, 2011
Last updated: 04/14/11 at 05:00 AM
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After the death of Robespierre, a new form of government, the Directory, took power. Under this government, France was still a republic, but only tax-paying citizens could vote. The troubles from the war and economic problems led to the downfall and overthrow by Napoleon Bonaparte, a French General, of the Directory. Bonaparte seized control of the government, this ending the French Revolution.
In July 1793, Maximilien Robespierre was elected to the Comitee by the Convention. With his persuasive speeches and way with words, Robespierre soon became the leader behind the Reign of Terror. In an attempt to move the country forward, Robespierre showed no mercy for renegades, executing them guillotine-style, stating "To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity." Robespierre's downfall was caused by his killing of people for seemingly no reason, and he was later sentenced to execution without a trial.
With the aid of Syndey Carton Dr. Manette, his grand-daughter, and Lucie are able to join with their loved Charles Darnay to flee France. Carton decieved Darnay into switching roles so Darnay's life would be spaired to live with Lucie. As they were fleeing the country Dr. Manette appeared to be a "helpless, inarticulately mumuring, wandering old man" (344) and was able to pass off the suspicion of loyal Republic citizens.
At Darnay's second trial in Paris he and his family learn that the other witness (besides the Defarges) was Dr. Manette himself. After the Bastille was charged Mrs. Defarge looked through 105 North Tower and was able to find a letter she knew would be there that linked Dr. Manette's hatred and devotion to the destruction of the Marquis lineage. Dr. Manette once witnessed the cruelty of Darnay's uncle and father when he was brought to a house call for a dying sister (who was raped) and her brother (who was stabbed). Dr. Manette vowed in his letter that he wouldn't support the Marquis nor his family. Lady Defarge used this evidence because the siblings that died were her sibligns and she knew that with Dr. Manette's written testimony the Republic would have to charge Darnay to the guillotine. The verdict read, "Back to the Conciergerie, and Death within four-and-twenty hours" (322).
Dr. Manette uses his past to influence the tribume to aquitt Darnay. As a result of his convincing Darnay is finally released and able to return to Lucie and his daughter (Lucie). However, apparently all of Dr. Manette's labourous hours of convinving the tribune Darnay was innocent was worthless because he was taken imediately back to prison. According to the four men in red caps Darnay is prisoner to the Republic because the Defarges and one other. Dr. Manette can do nothing to prevent Darnay from being taken back to jail because they citizens reminded him that, "If the Republic demands sacrifices from youm without doubt you as a good patriot will be happy to make them" (284).
The king was put on trial in December 1792 in front of the National Convention on the grounds of high treason. In a close vote by the seven hundred and eighty-one deputies on the Convention, the king was found guilty and sentenced to death. King Louis XVI was beheaded in January 1793 and became the first king to be executed.
After learning of Charles Darney's imprisonment in France Dr. Manette and his daughter go to France to try to help him. Dr. Manette feels that because of the uprising in France he has a "charmed life", meaning that because he was in prison at the Bastille for 18 years the French citizens will sympathize and aid him and Darnay. After his four day excursion to jail he was able to describe the system of how they were inflicting punishment, "a self-appointed tribuna sitting, before which the prisoners were brought singly, and by which they were rapidly ordered to be put forth to be massacred" (262).
The king and his supporters had been openly hoping for the invadors from Austria and Prussia to succeed in their war against France. Angered people of France demanded that such a king be taken off this throne. In June 1972, Louis XVI and his family were arrested and sent to prison. During the time that the king was imprisoned, the monarchy in France was ended, and the country began to draft a new constitution.
The Constitution of 1791 was the first draft of the constitution of France. The idea of this constitution was a based off of the idea of the United States. This constitution was in response to the "institutions which were injurious to liberty and equality of rights." King Louis XVI was reluctant to pass this constitution, but ultimately made the decision to allow it.
The storming of Bastille is said to be the most influencial and significant battle during the French Revolution. Revolutionaries decided to attack this prison due to the fact that it was loaded with gunpowder and ammunition hidden by King Louis XVI. As the revolutionaries stood outside the gates of the Bastille, the guards began to fire down at them, killing hundreds. The scene became such chaos that the revolutionaries began murdering the guards, and Marquis de Lauynay, carrying his head around town. Only seven prisoners were freed, but the effect of the whole ordeal was everlasting.
The National Assembly chose a commitee of thirty people to construct a constitution for the government of France called the National Convention. The National Assembly is to have complete control over the passing or declining of the potential laws made by the National Convention.
Lucie and Charles Darnay's relationship flourishes from friendship to an engagement. Before Lucie can conscienceously go through with a wedding she had to make sure Dr. Manette would be okay. Dr. Manette proclaimed to Lucie that he was greatful for all Lucie has done for her but that it was good she was getting married to Darnay. When Lucie said if Charles had never come along then she'd be content with the father-daughter relationship they shared Dr. Manette said, "If it had not been Charles, it would have been another" (181) and assured Lucie he would be okay with they changes.
On Lucie and Charle's wedding day, as promised Charles confides in Dr. Manette with details regarding who he is in France. When Dr. Manette learns that he is Evermond (the marquist) his blood drains from his face. When Darnay and Lucie go on their honeymoon Mr. Manette is left under the guidance of Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry. During the ten days when Dr. Manette was seperated from Lucie he returned to his mental spells and continued shoemaking. Mr. Lorry growing more concerned each day counted the days "The third day came and went, the fourth, the fifth. Five days, siz days, seve days, eight days, nine days" (190) before Dr. Manette finally awoke from the spell on the tenth morning. When he finally came back to his senses he couldn't recall any of those nine days. After Dr. Manette went to accompony Lucie and Charles on the remainder of their honeymoon Mr. Lorry destroyed the shoemaker's bench.
Dr. Manette's daughter Lucie has gotten the attention of several men: Stryver, Carton, and Darnay. However, Darnay goes to Dr. Manette seeking for his premission to marry his daughter if the opportunity arrises. During Darnay and Dr. Manette's discusion Dr. Manette agrees to be open minded about their marraige in exchange for Darnay to keep the promise, that on " your (Darnay and Lucie's) marriage morning" (132) Darnay must tell him his name.
Since Dr. Manette has returned to England, Mr. Lorry has become a family friend and accompanied Lucie and Dr. Manettes every Sunday. Dr. Manette's residence in London was near Soho Square; "a quainter corner... was not to be found in London" (89). Even in Dr. Manette's comfortable home with Lucie and Miss Pross (Lucie's nanny/family friend) he still suffers from his mental spells. Miss Pross admitts to Mr. Lorry that Dr. Manette never brings up his experiences during his mental spells and that no one can get him out of these spells; to help him calm down and return to reality Lucie has to walk back and forth with him.
As a result of Dr. Manette and Charles Darnay crossing paths on a boat to England (in 1775), Dr. Manette and Lucie are called to Darnay's trial in England as witnesses. They were witnesses against Darnay which caused emotional pain for Lucie and brought back the memory od Dr. Manette's past. When he was called to the stand and questioned if he had seen this witness on board the passage or seen him talking to his daughter thath day he responded, "Sir, I can do neither" (71). Dr. Manette had to recall his mental state and the pain he suffered from his imprisonment in front of the whole court.
Lucie Manette, almost age 18, travels from England accompanied by Mr. Lorry to collect her father from the Defarges. This is the first time Lucie and Dr. Manette met, and at first Dr. Manette thinks Lucie is her mother (who died after Lucieâ€™s birth). Dr. Manette convinced himself that the golden hair Lucie had belonged to her mother and acclaimed, â€śIt is the same. How can it be! When was it! How was itâ€ť (43). After their first meeting and the realizations of Lucieâ€™s existence was planted in Dr. Manetteâ€™s head he goes back to London with Lucie.
Dr. Manette, imprissoned in 105 North Tower, was able to write a letter explaining why he was in the Bastille. The letter connected his imprisonment to the injustices of the Marquis. Dr. Alexandre Manette of Beauvais sweared, "I write the truth as I shall answer for these my last recorded words" (308) being unsure if he woud be freed from prison.
Dr. Manette is imprisoned in the Bastille, in cell 105 North Tower. After being jailed he is freed and lives above the Defarge's wine shop. During this 18 year time frame he is separated from his daughter Lucie and loses his mental stability, "He has lived so long, locked up, that he would be frightened... if his door was left open" (Dickens 35). When Dr. Manette goes into that mental state he copes by using all his time and energy to make shoes (specifically women's walking shoes).
While out on a walk, a carriage with two men pull up besides Dr. Manette and informs him he needs to go with them immediately. The carriage takes them to a home where he learns that he is needed for a sick patient with a brain fever. The sick patient was dying because she was brutally raped by the men. The two men who brought Dr. Manette to the home were brothers and informed him that there was another patient, a younger boy, who was also in need of medical help. When Dr. Manette examined the boy, who was the brother of the sick girl, he learned he was stabbed by a sword and he refused medical treatment. Both the sick brother and sister died that night, and then Dr. Manette was sent to the Bastille to keep the secret.