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How the different qualities of a 'gentleman' is portrayed, by Charles Dickens, throughout

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Gentleman In this essay I will be looking at how the different qualities of a 'gentleman' is portrayed, by Charles Dickens, throughout "Great Expectations". In the beginning of the story a 'gentleman' is seen, through Pip, as someone with wealth, education and high social status. This materialistic definition of a gentleman can be seen in the description of the character Bentley Drummle, who clearly isn't a gentleman, "... he was idle, proud, niggardly, reserved and suspicious. He came of rich people down in Somersetshire, who had nursed this combination of qualities until they made the discovery that it was just of age and a blockhead"(pg 187). One aspect of being 'gentlemanly' to pip was education, "'He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!'"(pg 57) says Estella. This makes Pip regret his own background and assumes that, as Estella says that the "knaves are not Jacks", this is the case. When Pip first arrived in London he was completely ignorant of the local etiquette and the way of doing things that was assumed to be right. ...read more.


From the reaction Pip receives from society, Magwitch believes he has made a 'gentleman' out of Pip. Herbert, a 'true gentleman' in the novel, is regarded throughout the story by pip as a 'gentleman'. First it was because of his class and his manners during the fight. Also for the fact that he decided to marry Clara to relieve her from taking care of her drunk father. Herbert's overwhelming politeness and patience is particularly contrasted to Pip's increasing rudeness and bad behaviour when Joe comes to stay. Herbert treats him better than Pip himself. The fact that Hebert is a 'gentleman' is surprising as his mother especially is rude and lazy while his uncles and aunts are all money-grabbing and attempt to please Miss Havisham for her money although they have no real love for her. Another 'true gentleman' is Joe, although he lacks the materialistic appearance of a 'gentleman', we can see through his actions and words that he is a 'true gentleman'. He is portrayed by Dickens as an almost faultless character and he tells us about how bad Joe's father treated Joe and his mother, "'... ...read more.


Estella is rich, and the heiress to Miss Havisham's large property, whilst Biddy has virtually nothing to her name. From all appearances, Estella is definitely the gentlewoman of the two, but this is wrong. Estella is impolite, unkind, proud and behaves very badly towards Pip, a man that she knows would do anything for her, "'He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy! ... And what coarse hands he has. And what thick boots' Her contempt was so strong that it became infectious, and I caught it". Biddy, however, always remains truthful and generally kind towards Pip. It becomes obvious that Biddy's view of a 'gentleman' is very similar to that of Joe - she regards a gentleman as someone who is towards the end of Great Expectations. Pip begins to make the transition himself although a bit gradually. In the end though Pip becomes a true gentleman and loses the desire for the materialistic looks of a gentleman. He shows gratitude towards Joe and Biddy, forgives Miss Havisham although she made him suffer while he was a young boy and does not show any resent towards Estella after all she put him through. English Coursework 1 ...read more.

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