Study Guide

A Tale of Two Cities Volume III, Chapter Four – Calm in a Storm

By Charles Dickens

Volume III, Chapter Four – Calm in a Storm

  • Dr. Manette doesn’t return for four days.
  • When he finally makes it back to the house, he tells Lucie a condensed version of what he’s seen.
  • Mr. Lorry, however, gets the full story: Dr. Manette went to the Tribunal that tries all the prisoners.
  • He announced himself as a former prisoner of the Bastille, and was awarded special status in the Tribunal.
  • From his seat, he saw Darnay brought before the court and almost released.
  • At the last minute, however, the President of the Tribunal got some new information.
  • He ordered that Darnay be held in prison. He won’t be executed, but he won’t be set free.
  • Dr. Manette describes the Tribunals as madness. There’s not any justice or even any attempt at observing any laws.
  • Finally, however, he decides to use all the influence he has to save Darnay.
  • In fact, for the first time since he was released from prison, he seems like a socially powerful man.
  • The doctor becomes the head medical inspector of three prisons. In that position, he’s able to bring back occasional news of Darnay.
  • Strangely enough, Mr. Lorry observes that the doctor begins to take pride in his ability to do things for his family.
  • For a long time, Lucie took care of him. Now he’s able to return the favor.
  • Nonetheless, despite all the doctor’s efforts, Darnay remains in prison.
  • Time passes without any real markers.
  • And now, friends, we’re introduced to the real star of this novel: the guillotine.
  • Our narrator takes a good, long time to describe the ways that it influences and symbolizes the new Republic.
  • It’s actually a really good bit of the novel—we recommend that you check it out for yourselves.
  • The doctor moves through all the madness of this time. The guillotine chops off heads right and left, Darnay remains in prison, and Lucie…waits.