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Analysis of the Character Fagin, in Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist'

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Introduction

Analysis of the Character Fagin, in Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist' This essay depicts the characteristics of Fagin, a key character in Charles Dickens's legendary novel 'Oliver Twist'. Dickens wrote this book in the eighteen hundreds and gives a clear portrayal of life in the Victorian era, and how many people struggled to cope with poverty, desperation and crime. The story revolves around a small boy, who from his first day alive has experienced terrible hardships and how he tries to make his way in the brutal world, that was London. After escaping from the extreme cruelty he had been subject to when staying at the undertakers, Oliver fled to London, which greeted him in a way that made him feel small and insignificant. After being picked up by the Artful Dodger, he is brought to the grimy hideaway of Fagin- otherwise known as 'the Jew' Charles Dickens ensures that the readers' first impression of Fagin would be negative and unpleasant. Fagin is evidently extremely poor and is trying, through any means possible, to avoid sinking into deeper poverty. Dickens implies this through his graphic description of Fagin and the complicated route in which Oliver has to for take to get to the grotty, grim and dirty hideaway where Fagin and the boys live. ...read more.

Middle

the children. On the whole, Fagin in fact, is an absolute bully to the children, as he uses his advantage of being bigger and cleverer than them as means to bully them. He picks on children such as Oliver by flattering and involving the boys in his antagonising, so that the boys feel Fagin is on their side, therefore they trust him. In the description of Fagin in chapter XIX, Charles Dickens hits home with the sheer repulsiveness of Fagin, through his evocative and dramatic vocabulary. '...emerged from his den' The use of the word 'den' implies that Fagin is an animal, similar to a fox in the way that he moves at night. However, as the passage continues, Dickens is determined that the reader must not think of Fagin as anything more than a satanic demon, a person who deserves no such comparison to a fox or anything remotely complimentary. 'It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad.' After depicting the ghastly night in which all this was occuring (describing the rain as 'sluggish' and objects 'cold and clammy') this quote shows that Fagin is the sort of person who fits well with this weather, as if he is suited to it. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Dickens's implies through his language and tone that there is a much sneakier and cunning reason for this sudden act of kindness. Fagin feels that if he tries to make Oliver believe that he is on his side and is his friend, he can somehow, even now, manipulate him into helping him escape. Once again, the readers hopes are completely destroyed as one realizes there is, in truth no hope for Fagin- he will always be relentlessly evil and that there can be no saving him. It also emphasizes how utterly desperate and pathetic he has become, trying to plot an escape even when there is a guard standing only about 3 metres away from him. Dickens sees to this last reference of Fagin, that it rids him of every fragment of dignity possible. "He struggles with the power of desperation, for an instant: and then set up a cry upon cry that penetrated even those massive walls..." This leaves the reader with the lasting thought that Fagin really is as pathetic, cowardly and pitiful as we think. Dickens's obvious dislike for the character ensures that he purges Fagin of all his dignity, respect and self-esteem. Camilla Arana 10GK ...read more.

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