Using a device that is now fairly common in story telling, A Tale of Two Cities, switches back and forth between two locations and the events that are happening in parallel until, over time, those events converge. The story centers around London and Paris shortly before the French revolution. Both are capitals of countries that were undergoing significant social unrest. Charles Dickens, the author of A Tale of Two Cities was very concerned about issues of social inequities and injustice.
This story deals with justice, revenge and sacrifice.
Hint: Pay attention to Madame Defarge's Knitting. You may never view knitting in quite the same way again.
Sydney Carton: An skilled, drunk solicitor who falls in love with Lucy Manette. He and Charles Darnay look similar but have different personalities and opportunities. Sydney Carton, though seemingly inconsequential, becomes the ultimate hero of the book. Sydney Carton is often refered to as a "Jackal."
Doctor Alexandre Manette: The father of Lucie Manette Lucie Manette. He is held as a prisoner in the Bastille for eighteen years because of the twin brothers Evremonde and eventually becomes mad. He later is restored to his normal frame of mind through the love and care from his daughter, Lucie Manette.
Lucie Manette: Daughter of Alexandre Manette and wife of Charles Darnay. She is a dutiful and loving woman and embodies maternal strength and love.
Charles Darnay: The assumed name of Charles Evremonde, an aristocrat who left his position to try to repair the damage done by his family. Darnay and Lucie Manette get married and have Little Lucie and another boy who dies at a young age. Later, it is alluded that Charles and Lucie have another child whom they name Sydney.
Therese Defarge: Wife of Ernest Defarge and can often be seen knitting. She is a part of the Tricoteuse (one who sat knitting by the guillotine as beheadings took place) and remains an antagonist throughout the book. She and the family Evremonde have a past in which Therese's family is killed either directly or indirectly because of the Evremonde twins.
Ernest Defarge: Husband of Therese Defarge and former servant of Doctor Manette. He later takes in the insane Dr. Manette after his release until Lucie and Mr. Lorry come from England to get him.
Jarvis Lorry: A business man from Tellson's bank. He journeys with the Manettes and remains a stoic and loyal friend.
Jerry Cruncher: A resurrection man (grave robber) who doubles as an errand boy for the managers of Tellson's bank.