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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Summary and Analysis Book 2: Chapter 9 - The Gorgon's Head


Once inside the chateau, in his elegant private rooms, the Marquis prepares for supper and awaits his nephew's arrival. When his nephew — Charles Darnay — arrives, the two exchange brief formalities and then, after the servants have left, Darnay tells his uncle that he is renouncing all ties to his family and to France. Although he is coolly polite, the Marquis' dislike for his nephew is apparent. Darnay equally despises his uncle, and the fear and hatred inspired by the Evrémond name troubles him. Before they part, the Marquis asks about Darnay's relationship with Doctor Manette and Lucie and then smiles mysteriously. In the morning, the Marquis is discovered dead — stabbed by a member of the Jacquerie.


With the murder of the Marquis — a man who represents evil in the aristocracy — by a representative of the common people, the tension and momentum build and the reader senses that the revolution is near. This uprising is acted out not only in the murder, but also in Darnay's rejection of his uncle and his country. Darnay's real name, the reader discovers, is Evrémonde, meaning "everyman,"and his ambition is to fulfill his mother's dying wish to right his family's wrongs. Consequently, Darnay can be viewed as the embodiment of the belief in every man's right to fairness and justice. When he renounces his family name and property, the act is as revolutionary as a peasant murdering a lord.


the Gorgon's head in Greek mythology, a Gorgon is one of three sisters with snakes for hair. They are so horrible that a beholder is turned to stone.

a letter de cachet a document containing a royal warrant for the imprisonment without trial of a specified person.