Exploring the Characters of Havisham and Magwich in Dickens' Great Expectations


Length: 1096 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Dickens seems to develop characters who are so compelling that the reader needs to know what’s going to happen next...

When we first met Magwich he seems to be a nasty and manipulative convict, bullying a small, naive little boy called Pip for basic food of which he is lacking, shortly after Pip meets him again but your opinion of Magwich changes entirely he defends Pip of the stealing actions he bullied him into. Then he is unthought-of for some time in the book until he appears again after Pips transformation from young lower class boy to a gentleman. The fact he is the reason of Pips transformation shows him as the hero, but he is still wanted for crime.

Magwich from the first time we meet him is described in great detail by timid Pip who isn’t described in a lot of detail at all, almost as if his identity is left for the reader to decide. Magwich is described as ...“a fearful man, all in course gray, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes and with an old rag tied around his head”. The fact that he isn’t wearing a hat in the Victorian times was considered rude, however he is wearing an rag proving he is dignified and polite but “old rag” suggests he is poor and of the lower class. The setting when Magwich first appears is at the “graveyard” there seems to be an air of death, raw and gloomy setting. The setting seems too described in great depth as if it’s important to the story; the setting seems to mirror Magwich bleak and raw and lonely and isolated. This seems to represent his life and neglection.

Whereas the same setting for Pip is peaceful place to remember his late mother and father, seemingly now he is left with this elder sister who treats him and her blacksmith husband, Joe, terribly.

As well as this when we first meet Miss Havisham in chapter 8 she is described with a lengthy description also. Her appearance is described as skeleton like and decaying. She is trapped in a time warp due to her own accord, living in a neglected house in the same room at the exact same time as her soon to be husband competent left her, the misfortune of her neglection left her bitter and seemingly slightly twisted for example she wants Pip and Estella to “play”.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Exploring the Characters of Havisham and Magwich in Dickens' Great Expectations." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jan 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=184835>.
Title Length Color Rating  
The Characters of Great Expectations Essay - “He was whatever he needed to be, what we asked him to be... a teacher, a magician, a savior, a life” (245). Mr. Watts is one of the central focuses of the story along with Dolores, Matilda’s mother. The two characters are polar opposites in the way they come to their conclusions, make their decisions and view their world. With growth comes decision making in which comes greater changes, the motif of choice is woven through the novel of Mister Pip, whether its Dolores deciding to hide “Great Expectations” from the villagers causing greater occurrences or Mr....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 586 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about The Rehabilitated Magwitch in Great Expectations - The Rehabilitated Magwitch in Great Expectations      "A warmint, dear boy" is the answer that Magwitch gives Pip when asked what he was brought up to be (305; ch. 40). This is what any person would expect from a man who has lived a life of crime. With further exploration, however, one will see that it is deeper than petty theft and prison. By using a character such as Magwitch, Dickens suggests the implications of using the Australian penal colonies as a way of rehabilitation for criminals....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1310 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Comparing the Characters of Magwitch and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations by Dickens - Comparing the Characters of Magwitch and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations by Dickens Miss Havisham is a bitter old woman. She wants to seek revenge on all men for the wrong that was done to her by one man. She lives in her clothes that she should have worn to her wedding and is surrounded by decaying things in a darkened room. Miss Havisham adopts a young girl Estella, whom she has planed to use her to seek revenge on all men. Miss Havisham is delighted in the way Estella torments Pip....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 905 words
(2.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Characters in Great Expectations Essay - Look at three chapters from Great Expectations, discuss how Dickens creates characters that are both memorable and striking. Make sure you refer to at least three. The assignment that I am writing about is Great Expectation which was written in 1880-1881 and the author is Charles Dickens. The main three characters that I will be talking about are Pip, Magwitch and Miss Havisham. Firstly before that I want to write a bit about the history of publishing at the time Charles Dickens. At that time publishing books were totally different than at present time....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 2102 words
(6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Pip's Excpectations in Jane Austen's Great Expectations Essay - Pip's Excpectations in Jane Austen's Great Expectations In the novel 'Great Expectations', the central character Pip has many expectations thrust upon him by others, as well as himself, from a very early age. What do we discover about these expectations and the characters who 'demand' great things of Pip and does he live up to the expectations of himself and others. In the novel 'Great Expectations', many characters have expectations in Pip....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 768 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Characters in Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens Essay - Characters in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Dickens has many ways of making his characters both striking and memorable, he uses the dialogue and blends it with the setting and social background as illustrated by ‘torn by briars; who limped’. Dickens is very descriptive; this also helps making the character real. Dickens creates a creepy mood when we are told about the graveyard in which we meet Magwitch as shown by ‘as if he were eluding the hands of dead people’. He uses the graveyard and the gibbet in the distance to help create this mood which adds to the edgy atmosphere....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 916 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Creating Memorable Characters in Great Expectations - How does Charles Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking in the novel Great Expectations. In the novel ‘Great Expectations,’ Charles Dickens has managed to create several strong characters that are both memorable and striking and which definitely grab the reader’s attention. He uses a variety of techniques to make the characters seem so real. Take the character of Pip for example. His full name is Phillip Pirrip although he could never pronounce it properly and all he could manage was Pip, so that stuck with him....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 2125 words
(6.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Defining Magwitch in Great Expectations Essay - Defining Magwitch in Great Expectations Great Expectations was written in the era of Queen Victoria; ironically a time of great progress and prosperity. Sadly, this was not the case for all. Education benefited the rich. As a result, there was a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The justice system was harsh, favouring the rich, two hundred men and women were put before the judge to be sentenced to death every week. It is clear that Dickens reflects on the society of the time, and shows the unjust, class divided society Magwitch was a part of and the need to reform a legal system which treated this man so unjustly....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays] 1041 words
(3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
How Dickens Creates Sympathy for the Characters in Great Expectations Essay - How Dickens Creates Sympathy for the Characters in Great Expectations Published initially as a weekly contribution in a local newspaper, Dickens’ Great Expectations developed to be a great success. Great Expectations was a story for all classes, both rich and poor appreciated his efforts. Great Expectations is the tale of Phillip Pirrip who has no family except an older sister, he feels insecure in the world around him. Having no parents to give him a sense of identity, he wanders in the wilderness that is the graveyard to search for answers....   [tags: Great Expectations Charles Dickens Essays] 1207 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Child Characters in Great Expectations Essay - Child Characters in Great Expectations         The first part of Dickens' novel, Great Expectations, is an account of the childhood of, Pip, the main character of the novel.  In these beginning chapters Dickens paints an extremely vivid picture of childhood.  The reader is able to enter Pip's mind and see the world through the eyes of a child.  This is possible because Dickens understood the thoughts and feelings of children and applied this to Pip's every thought and action when he wrote the novel.  Dickens had an obvious gift for creating child characters in his works.  The word "pip" itself refers to a seed from a plant.  Seeds need to be nurtured if they are to grow and flour...   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1702 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]



A quote to prove her unusual fancies are: “I sometimes have sick fancies” the impression I got from this quote was she is mentally ill. Pip describes her firstly as the “strangest lady” he has ever seen. He then goes on to give a large description of her like he did for Magwich.

She seems an eccentric old lady, living in her past, at the exact time and minute of the moment she was happy. Whereas now she seems bitter due to her misfortune in love with competent. She looks after young and beautiful Estella who she uses to project her inner, bitter feelings. She teaches Estella to break young men’s hearts as if she is taking her heartbreak and misfortune out on Pip, this plan succeeds as Pip falls for Estella and she treats him terribly proving Miss Havisham is a bitter old woman who never has Pips best interests at heart.

Mirror imagery of Miss Havisham and Magwich:

Pips first impression of both characters Magwich and Havisham seem to mirror each other but with the exception of Magwich being forced to be imprisoned and Miss Havisham being purposefully imprisoned proving the both seem to mirror each other a lot but for different reasons entirely such as... they both betray Pip at some point in the novel however Magwich seems to do it out of love so he can have a gentlemanly upbringing whereas Miss Havisham betrays him for her own selfish reasons- she takes her hate of men due to her misfortune on to poor, innocent Pip.

One way Miss Havisham and Magwich are clearly linked in the novel is the way they both seem to have animal imagery; Magwich is described as “growling” which isn’t normally associated with a man making you wonder if his personality is beastly. And Miss Havisham seems to live in wild animal like conditions as if she’s hibernating, as she doesn’t see daylight she has no recognition of time or date and protects her young by hurting others.

He being a convict shows he is isolated and forced to be imprisoned however on the other hand Miss Havisham is imprisoned purposely of her own accord, never seeing daylight again. Another factor showing them to mirror each other is their religious beliefs; Miss Havisham has a prayer book resting on her dressing table collecting cobwebs possibly insinuating she has lost her faith due to her misfortune with men. Though because it’s a prayer book instead of a bible may show she never was religious it was simply for marriage reasons only. I feel this reference to the “prayer book” in the novel made no impact to the reader. Dickens could have made more references to the book for example making a stronger insinuation that she has lost her faith instead of just stating it was collecting “cobwebs".

As well as this they both seem to contrast with Pip. Magwich contrast with Pip is very noticeable from the first chapter. Magwich is associated with animal qualities and not a polite men whereas Pip seems to be a perfect gentleman even when Magwich was treating him terribly he remained to call him “sir”, Proving he is very respectful , probably due to his strict sister who she brags as bringing him up “by hand”, no matter what the circumstances. I find this characteristic in Pip is also proven later on in the novel, when Estella treats him terribly he remains a gentleman. As the novel progresses however Magwich and Pip seem to get more and more in common...

In the first chapter Pip seems very afraid of Magwich, when he threatens him however when Pip becomes a gentleman and Magwich is reintroduced into the novel, and Magwich tells Pip he is his father, they seem to have a great deal of similarities as pose to the former differences.

Miss Havisham also contrasts with Pip. However as Magwich grows as a character and you change your opinion of him Miss Havisham doesn’t seem to change from her bitter ways throughout. Proving great character development from Magwich but no antithesis for Miss Havisham.


Return to 123HelpMe.com