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Irony in Great Expectations

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Irony in Great Expectations In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, irony was the main element for developing the many complex plots that occurred. Pip, the main character of the novel, was fairly young in the beginning of the story. Being the main character, Pip was the one who was involved in most of the situations. Irony is used excessively throughout the novel to make the plot and characters more vivid and intense. This can be seen in Pip's actions, his relationship with Estella, and Joe. From the very beginning of the novel, Pip was characterized as a harmless, caring boy, who draws much sympathy from the readers even though he is at that point where he is content with his common life. The story started off in the graveyard, which complemented the first actual conflict of the novel. "...and the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard intersected with dikes and mounds, and gates with scattered cattle feeding on it was the marshes..."(pg.10) Dickens uses the setting not only to inform his audience about Pip's environment, but to prepare the readers for a sudden confrontation. ...read more.


And what thick boots!" (pg.70) Dickens infers that Estella considers herself much too confined and well-bred to associate with Pip, the "common labouring- boy". The irony in this relationship came about when Pip began to think that his being common was a bad thing. "I have particular reasons for wanting to be a gentleman."(pg. 143) The presence of dramatic irony was present here because even though Pip didn't specify his reasons for wanting to become a gentleman, it was implied that he was doing it for Estella. The author uses internal conflict to describe the way Pip may have been feeling about his dilemma. However, he never found anything wrong with his life before he went to Satis House. After Estella made fun of him, the author inferred that Pip felt degraded to her presence. Miss Havisham was the one who turned Estella into the cruel and stonehearted person that she was. "In the same moment I saw her running at me, shrieking, with a whirl of fire blazing all about he, and soaring at least as many feet above as her head was high." ...read more.


When Pip proceeded towards his life as a gentleman in his new environment, he forgets about the people who raised him. "...and having incidentally shown his tendency to call me 'sir'..." (pg.241) A visit from Joe was quite unexpected by Pip. As Joe referred to Pip as sir, Dickens used verbal irony to bring out the awkwardness in that visit. Pip treats Joe rather cold throughout this section of the book that allowed the author to portray the clashing of Pip's two worlds. To sum it all up, the readers most likely found Pip's destiny to be acceptable and enjoyable. Earlier in his life, he had changed from an innocent, caring boy into an arrogant young man as a result of his illusions & foolish desires. However, when his expectations came to an end, so do his undesirable traits, as he was shown to be a truly good-natured person. Therefore, it is good to say, that irony helped keep the story together. Pip was the prime example of many instances of which the use of twists and sarcasm portrayed that in the end, he was happy and content with his life once again. ...read more.

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