A Tale of Two Cities: Lesson 4

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11371

Revolutions often involve violence, but the French Revolution went overboard! The characters in ATOTC get caught up in the events, including two trials for Charles. Are you for or against the country?


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The French Revolution intensifies in this section of A Tale of Two Cities.

  • If you were Lucie or Charles, would you be interested in the events unfolding in France?
  • Why or why not?

In the last Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar,  you read about the marriage of Charles and Lucie, and the beginning of the French Revolution.

In this section of the novel, the revolution draws the Manettes, Charles Darnay, and Mr. Lorry to the epicenter of the events in Paris.

Before beginning this lesson's reading, give your parent or teacher a quick summary of the last lesson's reading. Be sure to mention the following items:

  • Jerry Cruncher's nighttime profession
  • Dr. Manette's reaction to his daughter's marriage
  • the Defarges' involvement in the events leading up to the outbreak and early days of the French Revolution

This lesson's reading will delve deeper into the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror that lasted from 1792-93. Before reading, watch this Reign of Terror: The French Revolution, Part III (vlogbrothers) video to better understand the history of the events from the execution of King Louis XVI onward:

Discuss the events of the video with your parent or teacher.

As you read, think about if you would want to be in France at this time period.

  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think you would have had the same goals and values as the revolutionaries that Dickens portrays?

The Storming of the Bastille

Image by Jean-Pierre Houël, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

For this lesson, read Chapter 24 of "Book the Second" and Chapters 1-7 in "Book the Third." If you do not have access to A Tale of Two Cities book, you may use this Planet Publish PDF.

When you've finished reading Chapter 24 and Chapters 1-7, you should move on to the Got It? section and check your comprehension of the events from this lesson's reading.

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