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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1126 words

Full Synopsis of David Copprfield.

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Full Synopsis of David Copprfield Whilst heavily pregnant with him, David Copperfield's widowed mother receives an unexpected visit at her home in Norfolk from her late husband's aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Trotwood, however, departs in disgust when the baby turns out to be male. David's early childhood is idyllic, and he is the apple of the eyes of his weak-willed, silly, pretty mother and the family's devoted servant Clara Peggotty. Their happiness is shattered when Mrs. Copperfield starts to accept the attentions of the grim Edward Murdstone. David is packed off for a holiday at Yarmouth with Peggotty's relations, who live on the beach in an upturned ship that fascinates him. Her family consists of Daniel, a kindly fisherman, his niece Emily (known as Little Em'ly), her cousin Ham and the comically pessimistic Mrs. Gummidge. David develops a childish love for Little Em'ly. Upon returning home David is dismayed to learn that his mother is now Mrs. Murdstone. Murdstone is extremely strict and terrifies David.


Taking into consideration the advice of her simple-minded lodger Mr. Dick, she decides to fight David's stepfather for custody of him. Following a triumphant interview with the Murdstones, this is achieved. David is now sent to a school in Canterbury, under the headmastership of the kindly Dr. Strong. Here he lodges with Mr. Wickfield (a solicitor) and his beautiful daughter Agnes. He also meets the repulsively self-effacing clerk Uriah Heep, whose mantra-like professions of humility conceal ruthless calculation. Heep steadily asserts himself over the mildly bibulous Wickfield, and is deeply disliked upon first sight by David. Leaving the school, David meets and befriends Steerforth again, and visits Mrs. Steerforth's home in Highgate, where he encounters the oddly spiteful and bitter Rosa Dartle, her paid companion. David and Steerforth visit Yarmouth at the former's instigation, and find Ham and Little Em'ly celebrating their engagement. Steerforth is universally liked there, concealing his contempt for such simple, uneducated folk under a slick veneer of charm. He is attracted to Little Em'ly, who has grown up to be beautiful.


Daniel decides to emigrate to Australia with her, and start a new life. In Canterbury Heep is exposed as a fraud by Micawber with the help of Traddles, who supplies the requisite legal acumen. Micawber finally orders his affairs and Betsey Trotwood (discovering that she has not been ruined after all) pays for his family's passage to Australia. Following these dramas Dora dies in childbirth and Ham loses his life in a terrible storm at Yarmouth whilst attempting unsuccessfully to save a stricken sailor, who turns out to be Steerforth. These tragedies prompt David to travel for three years, at the end of which he is able finally to confront a deep truth: he has always loved Agnes. Heep and Littimer become model prisoners in an institution presided over by Creakle. Rosa (who has revealed her own affair with Steerforth) ekes out life in mourning with the unendingly bitter Mrs. Steerforth. Agnes and David marry and live idyllically with Betsy, Peggotty and Mr. Dick. Years later they are visited by Daniel, who provides encouraging news of all the emigrants.

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