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Is Magwitch a criminal or a victim of society?

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Introduction

Is Magwitch a criminal or a victim of society? In the 19th century the class divisions were very strict. This meant that different people were divided into different social classes. At the top of this ladder were the rich people who enjoyed comfortable lives and didn't have to work to live. These people didn't care too much for anyone than their own class. Of course, there were some people at the top of the ladder who weren't like this, like Jaggers the lawyer, who helped the poor people. When Pip first met Magwitch, Magwitch had just escaped from the hulks. Pip describes him as "Soaked in water and smothered in mud and cut by flints and stung by nettles and torn by briars ... He limped and shivered and glared and growled" Magwitch's first words to Pip were "Keep still, or I'll cut your throat!" This must have mad Pip very scared of him. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that Pip has changed a lot from when Magwitch first met him. It is quite ironic when Magwitch says to Pip "I've made a gentleman of you!" because, we know that Pip isn't much of a gentleman, but actually that he is ungrateful, inconsiderate and quite selfish. Pip thinks that he would rather be someone with no money rather than a person with a 'criminal's' money. Magwitch tells Pip that he had "...lived rough, that you should live smooth, I worked hard, that you be above work." This brings out a completely different character of Magwitch that we wouldn't have expected. It shows that he cares for Pip and that he was very grateful for what Pip did for him a few years ago. When Magwitch was younger, he stole turnips for a living. This shows that he is a criminal in that he stole, but also a victim of society, as he had to steal his food because he had no money. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lawyers on Compeyson's side were always reminding the jury that Magwitch was scruffy and untidy. At the end of the court case they were both tried for the same crime, but because that Compeyson had a good upbringing and he looked tidy etc, he was given half the sentence that Magwitch received. When Magwitch sums up his life he says "in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail." This clearly shows that he is a criminal, but in all cases he has committed a crime to survive. Magwitch did not have a proper upbringing or an education so he did not have many choices but to steal in order to survive. But, we must remember the good that he did, like live a hard life so that Pip could live an easy, comfortable one. He died in the prison hospital from fever, which was slightly expected, because of his unfortunate upbringing. He was a caring, sensitive man who was very grateful towards Pip for the favours that he did him in his younger years, but even then, Pip was not grateful. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ciara Murphy ...read more.

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