• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse how Dickens presents the characters of Miss Havisham, Estella, Biddy and Mrs Joe in "Great Expectations"

Extracts from this document...


Analyse how Dickens presents the characters of Miss Havisham, Estella, Biddy and Mrs Joe in "Great Expectations" In "Great Expectations", Charles Dickens presents the four major female characters of the decaying Miss Havisham, the cold-hearted Estella, the violent Mrs Joe and the sweet Biddy. These four women change in many different ways over the course of the novel. The events in "Great Expectations" shape these women to better themselves. The social standings of the women are from upper and lower class Victorian England. These four women are somehow damaged; Miss Havisham passionately hated all men after she was jilted by Compeyson on her wedding day, since then she has been lurking in Satis House (Enough House) plotting her revenge. Mrs Joe however hates herself to be allowed into a domestic life she despises genuinely. Estella - after the enduring years of emotional abuse, has learnt to channel her depression into "bullying" Pip and later Herbert. Last of all Biddy, she however was damaged before the novel even started, during her childhood. It was only mentioned she was brought up "by hand" which is similar to Pip's upbringing. Many critics have debated whether or not Charles Dickens' presentation of women is realistic or misogynistic. The arguments are that he hates women so much. Women are portrayed as people who have to be beaten to "behave," which is true for Biddy, Mrs Joe and Estella. ...read more.


More proof that she is a facilitator is that Pip turns to Biddy for help for a better education so he can impress Estella. The reader gets a taste of his desperation and Biddy offers some great advice, but reluctantly agrees to help. She is pleased Pip has confidence in her. Joe Gargery obviously finds her as a wife he never had, "a blessing to the house," says Joe, glad he is not abused by Mrs Joe, and extremely happy with his new-born daughter. Biddy helps Joe and Pip in many ways, such as teaching them both to read and write. When Joe couldn't write she wrote letters on his behalf. Biddy is used as a social conscience in "Great Expectations," empathising that Pip has forgotten his roots and how he has abandoned Joe and Mrs Joe snobbishly to live an expensive and luxurious life in London, without even visiting the Gargery's often. In chapter thirty-five, Biddy reminds Pip slowly about Joe: By degrees she led me into more temperate talk, and she told me how Joe loved me, and how Joe never complained of anything,-she didn't say, of me; she had no need; I knew what she meant,-but ever did his duty in his way of life, with a strong hand, a quiet tongue, and a gentle heart. ...read more.


You would have been disappointed and angry?'" Chapter 38, Lines 279-281 They confront each other, while Miss Havisham furiously shouts Estella replies shortly and realistically. Estella confronts her that Miss Havisham "made" her into a cold spiteful woman who was meant to "wreak vengeance on all male sex." Miss Havisham expected Estella to be cruel and cold to everybody except her. Estella's marriage to Drummle is a sort of self-loathing, similar to Mrs Joe. Estella could have just stopped caring. Wanted to hurt Miss Havisham, as she wanted Estella to forever hurt men, or to try and stop Pip from pursuing her. Miss Havisham finally regrets all her wrong doings, "what have I done?" She is a victim of society like all other women. Pip doesn't believe her and walks away, when he hears her scream he thinks that she is having a fit when she is actually fatally injured by a fire. Pip tries to rescue her but it is too late. The fire symbolises rebirth and retribution. Estella has a dreadful marriage with Drummle and is divorce when he finds out about her low status by birth despite her enormous wealth, showing how Victorian England acted in those times and how important a person's birthright was. The irony is that she always called Pip, "Boy," "course" and behaved like a queen towards Pip, whereas by birth Pip was a higher status than her and she were from the lowest of all. Her father, a criminal and her mother, a servant. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Great Expectations- Miss Havisham

    Pips narrative voice explains her to 'the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see' The adjective 'strange' qualifies how odd and perverse Miss Havisham appears and the additional clause 'or shall ever see' further qualifies how her strangeness is extraordinary.

  2. Discuss the role of Joe Gargery in Great Expectations.

    Joe acts kindly and he does not inform Mrs Joe of Pip's actions and saves him from Mrs Joe's "hand". Joe's actions to the convict are very revealing of Joe's attitude. Not only is Joe kind and caring to Pip, who may be regarded as family, he shows humanity towards strangers, in particular one who has supposedly stolen from him.

  1. Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on ...

    On Pip's second visit to Satis House, Miss Havisham's relations are at the house as it is her birthday, trying to secure some of Miss Havisham's money. She uses Pip to spite them by making them think that Pip will get all her money.

  2. Compare the ways Dickens presents the characters of Estella and Biddy in 'Great Expectations'.

    I struggled through the alphabet". Pip's opinion of Biddy at this point is that she is a very kind and caring girl, but that she is a bit messy.- "her shoes always wanted mending and pulling up at the heel".

  1. Is it possible to feel sympathy for the Miss Havisham and Estella characters in ...

    the surrounding objects in detail, and saw that her watch had stopped at twenty minutes to nine, and that a clock in the room had stopped at twenty to nine." The fact that Miss Havisham cannot move forwards and carry on with her life is my first reason for why we may be able to feel sympathy for her.

  2. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented ...

    Hartley decries the treatment of Triningham, who displays the best of aristocratic values, yet mourning Ted's death and the rise of the Maudlseys who left their natural place in society in the pursuit of their own self interest, and thus made Marion and Ted marrying impossible.

  1. Essay- Explore the characterisation, role and function of Estella and Miss Havisham in 'Great ...

    infer that Miss Havisham's goal changed; "Believe this: when she first came to me, I meant to save her from misery like my own. At first I meant no more. But as she grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with

  2. In this essay I will talk about whether one reader can feel sympathy for ...

    because of that Estella will be just doing like what Miss Havisham does because Miss Havisham is the one who sets an example for Estella. I feel sympathy for Estella because Miss Havisham made her not be good and kind this is revealed when Estella said," and what coarse hands

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work