Charles Dickens’ Great Expextations and the Shift in Miss Havisham’s Personality

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Great Expectations Essay

Some people are willing to do just about anything for love and on the account of it. This is evident in everyday life, as one may watch a friend change for a loved one. However, it does not make a difference whether the change occurs consciously or unconsciously. The important thing is that it occurs. Remarkably, love has a way of transforming people. It may turn a common boy into a gentlemen, a hardened convict into a compassionate man or a beautiful bride into miserable figure in faded and yellow dress. In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, love alters the lives and personalities of Miss Havisham, Pip and Magwitch three characters who have had the fortune or misfortune to encounter it.

The most memorable metamorphosis transpired in Miss Havisham. Once young and frivolous, she fell in love with a handsome man named Compeyson who played with her emotions and, since she was fairly well off, used her for her money as well. He broke her heart with a letter he sent to her the day of their wedding. She received it while she was dressing for her marriage at twenty minutes to nine the hour and the minute at which she afterwards stopped all clocks. (Great Expectations Pg. 168. Many years later, she was still exactly as she had been the day of her wedding only much, much older. The bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. (Great Expectations Pg. 53.) Her love for Compeyson had been so strong that her broken heart never healed. She renounced the world and shut herself up in her house never to see daylight again. There is no doubt that it was her blind devotion, unquestioning self humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief (Great Expectations Pg. 224) which caused her to act with such means. Consequently, over the years she transformed herself into a bitter and somewhat cruel, old eccentric woman in a faded and yellow bridal dress.

Miss Havisham was not the only character who underwent a drastic change as a result of falling in love. When Pip fell in love with Estella a beautiful girl with no heart who was adopted by Miss Havisham in order to wreak revenge on all of the male sex(Great Expectations Pg. 164), he too changed. Estella wounded him with her pride by calling him common, she insulted him and looked down upon him, but Pip loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness and all discouragement that could be (Great Expectations Pg. 216). When Pip First Met her, he decided that he wanted to be a gentleman on her account (Great Expectations Pg. 216) and so began the process of his transformation. With ambition to spare and a lot of luck, Pip went to London to pursue his goal. Estella was of course the inspiration of it, and the heart of it. (Great Expectations Pg. 216) Pip completely recreated himself as a gentleman all because, in his mind, he thought that if he could only be less coarse and common, he could win Estellas heart.

Conveniently enough for Pip, Magwitch a convict whom Pip helped when he was a little boy, financially supported Pips dream of becoming a gentleman. When Pip first encountered Magwitch, he described him as a fearful man, all in coarse gray.” (Great Expectations Pg. 2) However, after Pips noble act in assisting Magwitch, Magwitch swore that every penny he earned from that moment on, would go to benefit Pip. He grew to love Pip as his son. This was evident when Magwitch said Lookee here Pip. Im your second father. Youre my son more to me than any son. Ive put away money, only for you to spend (Great Expectations Pg. 298). Magwitch risked his life to go see him in London. Even when he was apprehended, he did not demand much of Pip despite what Pip owed him. It best a gentleman should not be knowed to belong to me now. Only come to see me as if you come by chance alonger Wemmick. Sit where I can see you when I am swore to, for the last o many times, and I dont ask no more.(Great Expectations Pg. 416) That was Magwitchs only wish for Pip to fulfill. Since Magwitch loved Pip so dearly, he became a better person. Instead of always worrying about his own well-being, he sacrificed his life in order for Pip to have the opportunity he never had. Love brought out qualities such as generosity and kindness in Magwitch that were not evident in his personality when his character was first introduced.

Magwitch, Pip and Miss Havisham all changed as a result of love. Their personalities changed, their values changed some for the better, some for the worse. Pip became a gentleman due to his love for Estella, Miss Havisham wasted away, nursing her broken heart becoming bitter and old, while, Magwitch spent many years making a gentleman so he could one day go and see him. It is evident that love changed all their lives and most would agree that love has a habit of doing that to people. Some changes that take place are drastic while others arent, some conscious and some not, but all are undeniable. Whether or not these change are gladly received does not stop them from occurring again and again. This is the way it has been in the past, this is the way it is in the present, and this is the way it will continue being in the future.

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