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Describe the character of Magwitch. What do you think Dickens has to say about crime and punishment in the sections of the novel where he appears? The following essay and the content of it are about the story of 'Great Expectations'

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Great Expectations. Q. Describe the character of Magwitch. What do you think Dickens has to say about crime and punishment in the sections of the novel where he appears? The following essay and the content of it are about the story of 'Great Expectations', its plot and what Charles Dickens was really trying to say. 'Great Expectations' is the tale about a young man, Phillip Pirrip nicknamed Pip for short, came to build up and have his great expectations dashed. The novel begins with Pip as a young boy out on the marshes and as the novel continues, it follows Pip's journey to a gentleman and then later on into a businessman. Throughout the novel, Pip is involved in a few rather dramatic events and with some rather colourful characters alongside him. At the beginning of the story we see the young Pip, an orphan being brought up and looked after by his horrible, hard sister and her husband whose character is defined as being a gentle giant, Joe Gargery, the blacksmith. While upon on the marshes, Pip comes into contact with an escaped convict by the name of Abel Magwitch. ...read more.


He is horrified and appalled but luckily Magwitch didn't notice it and is upset that he should owe so much to such a person. Furthermore, to Pip's state of shock, it is only now that he realises it was not Miss Havisham who was his benefactor and that Estella, who Pip adores dearly, had not been intended for him at all. While Pip is in a state of turmoil, we learn of Magwitch's past. The reader learns that because Magwitch didn't dress like a gentleman, his punishment was a lot harsher rather than if you look like a gentleman, the justice system would be a lot more lenient on the more vicious criminal. Even though Magwitch had a minimal choice about whether he could afford to turn to crime or not, he had little choice and could see himself not getting anywhere. Magwitch tells Pip that due to the fact that he committed a crime to "save himself" and he had no choice, it was because he didn't look or dress like a gentleman that he was given a heavy sentence and shipped to Australia where, only then, he was rehabilitated because he was supposedly no longer a danger to society or anyone around him. ...read more.


The conclusion to this essay proves to be that when Charles Dickens wrote 'Great Expectations', it is clear throughout the novel that he wrote it based upon the crime and punishment system and how it worked back in Dickens' day. It is obvious the system related to where and what class you were in and Charles could always see this and he knew how wrong it was that there was never any justification, hence why he wrote the novel, to show everyone the truth. Chapter 20 paints a very good picture of the legal system as it was, it tells numerous accounts of Jaggers and a few of his personal clients and in Chapter 56, he tells of the trial scene and Dickens is saying through the story of the novel that real justice was very hard to find and the link between the inequalities of society and the crime and punishment system didn't help. I still believe today though that there is not enough justice in the legal system and there is still a very large difference when it comes to being punished for a crime and what class and status you come under and you are placed under in our society today. Hannah Broughton. ...read more.

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