A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities


Charles Dickens

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Tale of Two Cities can help.

Everything you need
for every book you read.

"Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. The way the content is organized
and presented is seamlessly smooth, innovative, and comprehensive."
Get LitCharts A+

A Tale of Two Cities: Book 2, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

One day, Jerry Cruncher is sent to await Mr. Lorry's orders at the Old Bailey Courthouse, where a handsome young gentleman named Charles Darnay stands accused of treason. Jerry enters the court and pushes through the crowd gathered to see the trial. The spectators stare at Darnay, and one onlooker excitedly predicts that the accused will be convicted and then brutally drawn-and-quartered.
The sadistic appetites of this English crowd are similar to those of the French mob in Book 1, chapter 5. The title of the chapter, "A Sight," indicates that these people come to the trial for the fun of it, hoping not for justice but for the spectacle of violence.
Tyranny and Revolution Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon
Charles, who stands accused of being a French spy, is defended by two lawyers: Mr. Stryver and the insolent and bored-looking Mr. Carton. When Darnay glances at a young woman and her father sitting nearby (Lucie and Dr. Manette), word flashes through the crowd that these two are witnesses against Darnay. Nonetheless, Lucie's face radiates a compassion that awes the spectators.
The compassion in Lucie's face indicates that she does not want to condemn Charles, even though she is a witness for the prosecution. This foreshadows Charles's final trial in Paris, when Dr. Manette, contrary to his intentions, dooms Charles.
Fate and History Theme Icon
Imprisonment Theme Icon