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Who do you think is the most important character in Dickens 'Great Expectations': Miss Havisham or Magwitch?

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Who do you think is the most important character in Dickens 'Great Expectations': Miss Havisham or Magwitch? Great Expectations was written through 1860-1861 by Charles Dickens. It was originally published in monthly instalments in 'Household Words', a popular magazine at the time. It is the story of a coarse, common boy of the name Pip, who journeys through life with great expectations brought about by two characters; Miss Havisham, a reclusive gentle-lady and the convict, Magwitch. Dickens uses hints in his characters names as to their lifestyle or personality. Miss Havisham lives a 'sham' life, living in neither the present nor future; she insists upon living her life in the past, at exactly 'twenty minutes to nine'. The Pocket family also has a clue in its name, the family lives out of its pocket, they are not wealthy but they manage to scrape a living. Magwitch was the 'magical witch' who was both a blessing and a curse over a young boy. However the most important metaphor of all would be in the main characters name; Pip is a metaphor for a seed, during the book we witness him growing up. Another method used by Dickens for his characters is the use of caricatures. ...read more.


and then insulting him, 'And what coarse hands he has. And what thick boots!'. By doing this she has filled him with a desire to be more than just Pip, he then wanted to be a gentleman, as he was filled with disdain for the life he was living. However a gentleman does not become one just through money and social stature; there were strong social guidelines to what was a true gentleman, they were never to impose their stature upon others, they had to be kind to others etc. Later in the novel, just before the re-arrival of Magwitch, Pip had completely forgotten what it was to be a gentleman, he ignored Joe, thought nothing of the money he spent and was ignorant of the people he had left behind. The moment that Pip finally overcomes this are the last few moments for Magwitch; 'Dear Magwitch, I must tell you, now at last. You understand what I say?"A gentle pressure on my hand. "You had a child once, whom you loved and lost." A stronger pressure on my hand. "She lived and found powerful friends. She is living now. She is a lady and very beautiful. And I love her!'. This is a massive turning point in Pip's life, if the arrival of Magwitch collapses Pip's idealistic view of the upper ...read more.


Another would be Miss Havisham's burning, this could be interpreted as she was cleansing herself through holy fire, by this time she had much to feel remorse for such as the rebellion of Estella as she expressed her true feelings and Pip's reappearance into her life. Both characters are used in very ways throughout the novel, Magwitch appears and disappears while Miss Havisham lingers through the novel to make us feel that she is the benefactor for Pip. This makes the news that Magwitch is the benefactor even more of a shock to Pip. During the course of this book I have learnt a vast amount about the hierarchy of Victorian life, the role of the gentleman and the style of Charles Dickens as a writer. I truly believe that Magwitch is more important than Miss Havisham, the simple fact that he was planning to be Pip's benefactor all along, while Miss Havisham was just to keep us aware that someone was supplying him with the money. She just made the knowledge that he was the benefactor even more incredulous. However, ultimately Magwitch played the largest part in the creation of Pip. He made Pip into a gentleman in terms of money and then he turned him into a real gentleman by reminding Pip of his roots. ...read more.

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