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 story’s 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.
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’s 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 quiet sadness.
A huge portion of the story revolves around Dr.Manette’s past suffering in the Bastille. The Doctors Bastille time is pure hell. Even 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 model.
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 affect the story’s plot the most. The action that truly stands out is his writing and hiding of the letter that later convict, Charles Darnay. The exposure of the letter during the trial 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 doctor’s main conflict is with them. In the Defarge’s quest for vengeance against the Evermondes, they come upon opposing paths with the doctor. The Defarges want Darnay dead. The doctor cannot let Darnay die for he has become a large part of his daughter’s life.
The death of Darnay would bear 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 can?”4
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.