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Characters in Great Expectations Essay


In his second-to-last complete novel, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens writes about an orphan named Pip and his growing up and trying to become a gentleman along the way. With the help of a mysterious benefactor, Pip moves to London to learn to become a gentle man. Throughout the novel, Dickens often uses betrayal as part of the characters relationships. Friends and family betray the protagonist; Pip also is guilty of treachery and gets his great expectations and betrays his own values. Betrayal is one trait that appears on many occasions in the novel Great Expectations.

One occasion when the characters betray another is shown between Pip and Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham is the wealthy, eccentric old woman who lives in a manor called Satis House near Pips village. When Pip receives his expectations, Miss Havisham deceives Pip into believing that she is his benefactor. When Pip finds out that she is not, he is greatly upset that she led him on and that he will never be with her beautiful adopted daughter, Estella.

However, not only did Miss Havisham betray Pip, she was betrayed herself. As a young woman, Miss Havisham was jilted by her fianc minutes before her wedding. We later learn he is a former convict, Compeyson. Her broken heart from being betrayed makes her cruel. She now holds a grudge against all males. She even raises her beautiful daughter Estella to lure men in and then break their hearts. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, which was the moment when she first learned that Compeyson was gone. She still wears her faded wedding dress and only one shoe because when she learned of the betrayal, she hadnt put the other on yet.

Pip betrays other people as well, especially Joe. Joe Gargery is Pips brother-in-law and the village blacksmith. He is married to Pips abusive sister, Mrs. Joe, and stays with her out of sheer love for Pip. When Pip is abused by her, Joe stands up for him. When Pip comes upon his riches, however, he becomes ashamed of Joe, and they don't see each other much for many years. By doing so, Pip betrays Joe. Later, when Pip becomes sick, Joe nurses him back to health and he pays off all of his debts. Only when Pip learns that Miss Havisham is not his benefactor and that she has led him to believe otherwise does he realize just how much Joe means to him.

Works of literature often depict acts of betrayal. Charles Dickens Great Expectations is a prime example. Dickens uses the betrayal of Pip, Miss Havisham, and Joe to show how cruel and misguided people can be even to their loved ones.

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