Great Expectations, a satirical fictional novel based in Victorian England, by Charles Dickens is about a Phillip Pirrip, also known as Pip, who deeply desires to improve himself socially and morally. Great Expectations takes Pip on his heros journey to win his true love, and find peace with his conscience. Dickens writes Pip as a failed hero experiencing successes and failures. Often Pip faces difficult obstacles concerning pure evil.
Dolge Orlick, a man who bitterly resents Pip for being favored, is rotten to the core. He lacks a moral conscience or a single redeeming feature. Orlick dislikes Pip often tries to scare him as a young boy. When I was very small and timid, he gave me to understand that the Devil lived in a black corner of the forge...and that it was necessary to make up the fire once in seven years with a live boy and that I might consider myself fuel. (pg. 113) Orlick is an obvious bully and receives pleasure in scaring young children or the defenseless. Dickens cleverly gives the reader the sense that Orlick is the devil in the forge who will feed Pip to the fire. Another example of Orlicks foul personality is when he leaves a note for Pip to come to the marches. When Pip arrives, Orlick attacks him and blames Pip for his unhappiness and poor lifestyle. ...he put his hand into the corner of his side, and took up a gun with a brass-bound stock. Do you know this? said he... Do you know where you saw it afore?... You cost me that place. You did...How dared you come betwixt me and a young woman I liked?...You was always in Old Orlicks way since ever you was a child... Hell have no more of you. Youre dead... (pg. 428) Orlick blames Pip for his job loss at the forge although it is his fault for fighting with his employers. He also blames Pip for Biddys rejection of his advances. Instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, he lays the blame on another individual, and in this case Pip is the center of how his life is miserable.
Miss. Havisham, a slightly mad, vengeful, and bitter old woman, is another character in Great Expectations that exhibits unpleasant traits. She uses Estella, her adopted daughter who Pip is deeply in love with, from a young age as a tool of revenge against men. She deliberately makes sure Estella will be able to break Pips heart. Miss. Havisham enjoys a sadistic pleasure in watching Pip suffer although she knows the feeling of a broken heart. Once Estella begins to be heartless towards Miss. Havisham herself, she falls into a rage. Estella is able to keep her composure and explain how the fault is Miss. Havishams. Who taught me to be proud? returned Estella... I have never forgotten your wrongs and causes. I have never been unfaitful to you or your schooling. I have never shown any weakness that I can charge myself with. Would it be weakness to return my love? exclaimed Miss. Havisham. But yet, yes, she would call it so. (pg. 306) Miss. Havisham teaches Estella to be heartless in cruel towards men but cannot stand it when it is turned against her. Estella has it so deeply imprinted in her memory that one would think there were severe consequences when she was a young girl if she forgot her lessons.
Great Expecations by Charles Dickens is a dark novel mocking Victorian society. Pip aspires to be a gentleman, publicly and in his manners. Throughout his journey Pip clashes with his own conscience in doing what is morally right. Dickens portrays Pip to be a failed hero but learns many lessons along his journey. Pure evil is a large concept of this novel and Pip is able to overcome not all, but some that teach him lessons not to be forgotten.