The trial scene in A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities is a notable literary work by Charles Dickens. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of A Tale of Two Cities.


Critically comment on the trial scene in A Tale of Two Cities.

The trial scene is one of the vital and uprising moments in the novel A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). It symbolizes disappointment. This scene occurs during the turbulent time of the French Revolution. The trial reflects the heavy injustices and brutality of the era.

The initial part of the trial: Charles Darnay is the central character in the novel. When Charles Darnay arrives in France to save Gabelle, the taxes of Darnay’s family.  He is imprisoned as an emigrant and an aristocrat. Hearing this, Lucie, Miss Pross, and Dr. Manette go to Paris.

Dr. Manettes request to rescue his son-in-law: Dr. Manette goes to the revolutionaries and tries to get Darnay out, but he is unsuccessful. However, after fifteen months of his arrest, Darnay is released. However, on that very evening, Darnay is arrested again because of the letter from Dr. Manette.

Incident of the Trial Scene: The following day, Darnays retrial is restarted on new allegations by the Defarges. She had found a letter while searching Dr. Manettes prison cell. Defarge reads the letter to the tribunal. In it, Dr Manette had marked that his imprisonment was at the hands of the Evrémonde brothers because he tried to report their crimes. The fact of the crime is that Darnays uncle kidnapped and raped a peasant girl whose brother first hid his remaining younger sister and was killed by Marquis. 

Despite Dr Manette’s best efforts, the peasant girl. In the letter, Dr Manettes not only accused the Evrémondes but the last of their clan. Dr Manette tries to convince the jury that it was years ago, but now Darnay is his soul. That is why he requests the jury forgive Darnay. But the jury accepts this letter as irrefutable proof of Darnays guilt. Then, Darnay is condemned to die by the guillotine the next 24 years afternoon.

Lack of justice of the Revolution: The trial scene stresses the arbitrary and unjust nature of the revolution. Madame Defarge, leader of the women revolutionaries, is determined to ensure Darnay’s conviction. Finally, Darnay is sentenced to death in court, considering his forefather’s misdeed. It indicates a lack of justice in the revolutionary courts.

In short, the trial scene symbolizes the disorder and injustice of the French Revolution. It marks the random era’s violence. Besides, it portrays Sydney Carton‘s redemption through self-sacrifice. So, the scene highlights the brutality of the revolution and the corrupt system of contemporary society.