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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Summary and Analysis Book 3: Chapter 7 - A Knock at the Door


Although the Doctor voices confidence in the validity of Darnay's release, Lucie remains fearful for her husband's safety. As the family enjoys a quiet evening together, Miss Pross leaves on a shopping expedition with Jerry Cruncher. Soon afterward, four rough men pound on the door and enter the apartment. They inform Darnay that he is a prisoner again, based on accusations from three people: Monsieur and Madame Defarge and someone else whom they refuse to name. Darnay's new trial will take place the next day.


Darnay's re-arrest realizes Lucie's fears. Although the rough men name both Defarges as accusers, the reader knows that Madame Defarge must be the person primarily responsible. One may wonder why Madame Defarge allowed Darnay to be freed only to have him arrested again that same day. Dickens foreshadowed this move at the killing of Foulon, when Madame Defarge stayed close to Foulon in the mob and let him go before snatching him back again, like a cat with a mouse. Similarly, she allowed Darnay to experience a moment of freedom before sending him back to almost certain death. This behavior is the hallmark of cruelty, for it tortures the victim with a glimpse of what he wants the most, making him realize how much he is losing. Madame Defarge's action reveals the depths of her ruthlessness.


dumb lacking the power of speech; speechless.