A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Book 2: Chapter 3 - A Disappointment

Summary

The trial begins with the Attorney-General's long and often-times digressive statement of the treason charges against Darnay. Darnay's counsel, Mr. Stryver, attempts to discredit the prosecution's two main witnesses — John Barsad and Roger Cly — but the turning point in the trial comes when Stryver's associate, Sydney Carton, alerts him to the remarkable physical resemblance between Carton and Darnay. Stryver dramatically calls attention to the resemblance during the questioning of another witness for the prosecution, casting doubt onto the man's testimony that he saw Darnay waiting for someone in a hotel. Stryver then concludes the case with witnesses and a summation that paint Barsad as the spy and traitor and Cly as his accomplice. Darnay, he states, is an innocent victim whose confidential family affairs caused him to travel between the two countries. After an hour and a half, the jury returns with a verdict — Darnay is innocent.

Analysis

Here we see another instance of a man being "recalled to life,"as Doctor Manette was in Book I. Dickens describes Darnay as being a dead man, and the crowd, which buzzes like "a cloud of great blue-flies"would over a dead body, views him as such. The dead man is saved this time, not by Mr. Lorry or Lucie, but by an unlikely source — Sydney Carton, the disinterested and disreputable-looking lawyer who spends most of his time staring at the ceiling.

Carton's apparent lack of interest in his surroundings recalls Madame Defarge's attention to her knitting; both characters appear to see nothing, yet the reader senses that they notice more than most. Carton, for example, not only discerns the striking resemblance between himself and Darnay, but also observes Lucie's faint before the other characters. Such actions suggest that Carton is a more complicated man than his outward appearance initially suggests.

Glossary

immolate to offer or kill as a sacrifice.

debauched corrupted by drunkenness or sensuality; depraved.

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During the day Jerry Cruncher is a porter for Tellson’s Bank. What is his occupation at night?




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