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

Character study of Miss Havisham - Great Expectations

Extracts from this document...


Miss Havisham is the representation of a 'faded spectre'. The failed effects of nineteenth centaury chauvinism amalgamating with the product of a rigid society with definite and pre-destined roles for women, in which Miss Havisham fits none. The figure confined to a 'dark chair' is in fact a personification of the themes, which are predominantly based on hatred, betrayal, and morality and criminality. Satis House is an eerie backdrop to a sinister plot. Satis meaning enough is a description of not only the house but its residents, enough being its primary concern, so much so that they never leave because they do not need to as they have enough. It is here 'through a side door', along 'more passages' and 'up a staircase' that the reader is introduced to Miss Havisham. The tension created by Dickens in preparation to meet Miss Havisham has the reader taken on a psychological maze. Thus, her character having a profound negative effect, on the reader, and in turn revealing that Dickens associates physical landscape with personality. Linking people and their possessions. It is therefore intended that when Pip meets the 'strangest lady' he 'has ever seen', she is, although 'dressed in rich materials' symbolising death and decay. This is shown through sinister curator ship in the room which houses objects that seem as though they have lost their 'lustre'. ...read more.


Negatively this was a cruel way to destroy the fantasies of grandeur built by Miss Havisham and to make evident the class divide between himself and Estella. Although Miss Havisham abused Pip, making his life miserable, he forgave her and she died with a less taunted spirit. It is however, true to say that the effects have been both positive and negative, they have affected so greatly on Pip's life that in turn they have shaped not only the child but also the adult that he will become. The biological daughter of murderers and later adopted by Miss Havisham, one wonders whether Estella is capable of any human emotions. She has admitted to 'having no heart'. Is that due to her genetic make up or the way in which she has been brought up? Some would argue that Estella's life would have been bleak and most probably short had she not been adopted, she would have been with out love and material possessions. However having been adopted she was showered with gifts and praise, but did not receive a pure form of love but something concentrated and bitter. By Miss Havisham, She was manipulated and made to feel superior to the world. This being her downfall. One wonders whether Estella has been so ruined by Miss Havisham that she would have been of purer thought and soul in an orphanage, although at the very least Miss Havisham enabled Estella to access a world of opportunity and splendour. ...read more.


The sympathy for Miss Havisham as the once cold woman who's personality resembled that of a heartless creature has been, by the end of the novel, shown in a more positive light. She was at times seen to be the wicked fairy godmother of the fairy tale. Where as by the end she was seen to be the princess trapped in the tower. Although sometimes the tone of her voice and the mood of the book made one feel as though she was stuck inside her 'mind' which with 'brooding solidarity had grown diseased' and that is more sinister. Her 'ghastly bridal appearance' laying on a table unable to move invokes a sense of pity from the reader. It is her macabre and tragic but almost humorous death that allows forgiveness from not only Pip but the reader also. However Miss Havisham's begging forgiveness shows that she has done wrong and if she knows she had done wrong then surely she must be aware of her actions and cannot be insane. This dampens the amount of forgiveness that the reader feels toward her. Overall the reader feels neutral toward Miss Havisham, she has been both prey and predator, both the tormented and the tormentor, both the hateful and the hated. Dickens had created a monster so, that people could to the conclusion that the good does not outweigh the bad and vice versa. ...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

    He uses Miss Havisham to highlight the position of women in the Victorian society. If they were unmarried, such as Miss Havisham, it forces a position of them being marginalised from society.

  2. 'In what ways does Great Expectations resemble s fairy tale'

    Another witchlike character in the book is Mrs. Joe. Estella is another character 'type' that you would find in a fairy tale. She comes across as the princess of the story. When we first meet Estella she comes across as mean, and cold hearted which is due to being brought up by Miss Havisham.

  1. How does Dickens present the character of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations?

    When Pip replies "I think she is pretty...I think I should like to go home." Miss Havisham says "And never see her again, though she is so pretty?" When Pip finally replies that he would like to see her again, Miss Havisham smiles slightly.

  2. Prose study: Great expectations

    Chapter one I am going to analyse Chapter one as it is a good example of how dickens represents a character by the detailed description of the setting. In this case it's Magwitch and his setting of the marshes. At the beginning of chapter 1 Pip imagines his family from

  1. Great Expectations: A Tale of Two Endings

    However, the revised ending leads to other conclusions. Pip goes to the Satis House to get closure from Estella and to say goodbye, however, they end up leaving together, as a happy ending would be. The reader is open to all possibilities that Pip and Estella could end in a


    Miss Havisham has unconsciously been brought up thinking that that sort of behaviour is reasonable but in fact it is not. Miss Havisham's behaviour towards Pip and Estella is controlling and manipulating. When she tells Pip, "Love her, love her, love her", she does not give Pip a chance to

  1. A character study of Miss.Havisham in Great Expectations.

    Dickens describes her as a "ghastly wax-work at the fair" and "a skeleton in the ashes" illustrating her pale, old, frail body. The words "wax-work" and "skeleton" suggest a lack of life. Dickens uses words like "sunken eyes", "now hung loose" and "shrunk to skin and bone" which all describe the ways in which she has aged over the years.

  2. Compare and contrast the representation of women inTo Kill the Mockingbird and Great Expectations.

    They are both spiteful to the leading characters. Mrs. Dubose says nasty things to Jem and Scout about their father whenever they pass by her house. Similar as Mrs. Dubose, Miss. Havisham causes Pip to be unhappy, by using him for her revenge on men but the way Miss.

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