How Bill Sykes is presented in Chapter 47 and the BBC adaptation of "Oliver Twist".

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The presentation of Bill Sikes as a villain, in the original text of Oliver Twist and its film adaptation, is very different, with Sikes being portrayed as a more ruthless and remorseless character in the original text. These characteristics of Sikes being a villain are expressed through the way he is presented by Charles Dickens, through the use of language and his various interactions with other characters present in the scene. In the text version of the scene, Sikes is far more intimidating and he achieves this by a lack of speech and physical dominance. On the other hand, the film adaptation focuses more on the “human” side of Sikes and how, through the use of digital devices, is presented to be a more regretful and a far less villainous character.  

In both the book “Oliver Twist” and it’s film adaptation, the interaction that Bill Sikes has with the other characters presents him as a villain, but more so in the extract from the book. Firstly, in the extract of the book, in a conversation with Bill Sikes, Fagin tries to convince Sikes not be so violent when “beating” Nancy. When talking to Fagin, Sikes’ response is harsh and asserts his dominance: “Hell’s fire!” is one particular example where his aggressive use of words is expressed. In addition. Sikes uses short, command like phrases to prove he is the leader and that people will consequently obey him. “Let me out….Let me out I say”. His use of language creates a semantic field of violence and aggression =. However, in the film adaptation of Oliver Twist, Sikes does not speak at all, even though Fagin tells him to be “none too savage”. This lack of speech from Sikes shows that, once again, he is the dominant figure, and is furthermore continued in his interactions with Nancy. In the film adaptation, Sikes does not mutter a single word, until after beating Nancy, and consequently killing her. The silence that exists from Sikes implies that he has no respect for Nancy, and that instead of using words, he results to violence. Nevertheless, although Sikes does not speak, he still has the overall upper hand and asserts this through the physical force that he exerts upon Nancy. He grabs her by the head and despite Nancy’s pleading, she is helpless to Sikes’ blows to her head. This leads onto the point that Nancy does not get a fair chance to argue or to reason with Sikes. She manages to only string a few sentences together, whilst constantly repeating the words “I kept you out, Bill.” In the film adaptation, Nancy’s voice quivers cowardly and it is evident that she knows that Sikes will kill her cold-bloodedly. This is different to the original text where Nancy pleads in much longer speeches: “…stop before you spill my blood! I have been true to you upon my guilty soul I have!” In the original extract from Oliver Twist, Sikes has more to say and although this takes away his presentation as a villain, when he does speak, he does so with hostile and aggressive words. He labels Nancy a “…she devil!” and this concludes the fact that he is the more dominant between the two.  After eventually killing Nancy, Sikes is presented by the written extract as being remorseless and a villain. Once Nancy was ruthlessly killed by Sikes, he does not utter a single word and does not seem to feel any sort of regret; instead, Sikes is described to have “seized a heavy club and struck her [Nancy] down”. This sort of action can be interpreted as barbaric and so in the original extract, Sikes is seen to be a far more villainous character, through the lack of emotion he has when interacting with Nancy. In contrast, the film adaptation of Oliver Twist shows that Sikes’ interaction with Nancy is far less villainous and perhaps it can be argued that the murder was spontaneous. Following the killing of Nancy, Sikes talks to the “dead” Nancy as though she is still alive, telling her to “Get up” and that “You’re [Nancy] all right…” These orders from Sikes show that he possesses a more compassionate personality compared to the original text. Although he is aware that Nancy is dead, he continues to speak and tries reassuring himself that all is well, even though it is quite clearly the contrary. This delayed reactions shows that he has far more regret about killing Nancy compared to the text where he has a greater intent to kill in cold bloodedness.  

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The extract from Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, taken from the 47th chapter, consists of not only in the original text, but also in the film adaptation, various devices used from the author’s and or filmmaker’s craft, in the respective pieces of work. Dickens and the filmmakers from the BBC film adaptation have used different craft’s both from the extract of the text and film adaptation, some of which are similar and some which are different.  Such devices have been used to enhance the overall effect of the film and text, to aid with the portrayal and presentation of the character ...

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