Great Expectations

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The book Great Expectations is filled with foils and "opposites", characters that bring out characteristics important to the theme of the novel. One of the biggest foils is Compeyson and Magwitch. Compeyson is a rich "gentleman" and is let off pretty easily from a long , hard sentence, while Magwitch, a poor, unsuccessful orphan, is not pitied by society. He is labeled a convict and framed by Compeyson. He takes the blame for everything bad Compeyson has done and comes off as a shady, dodgy person. Compeyson is self-centered; this is emphasized by the incident in which a man named Arthur, whom Compeyson employs and who does all the "dirty work", is dying. Though Compeyson's wife has pity on the man, Compeyson himself does not give a passing thought to Arthur as he dies. He shows no compassion or care when Arthur becomes delusional and does not even get up on the night he dies. Magwitch , on the other hand, is shown only to have become a convict because he was an orphan and had no other options. He is not against making an honest living as he proves when he earns Pip's "Great Expectations". Another important foil is that of Estella and Biddy. Estella is a "Lady". She is rich and shockingly beautiful, but she has no heart or compassion because of the way she was raised. Biddy is "common" and not very beautiful, but she is kind at heart, compassionate and understanding. Joe and "Gentleman" Pip are also foils. While Joe is a blacksmith, classified as "common" and Pip is a gentleman, Pip is immature and idealistic. Pip may know how to write, but Joe is wise and knows that he belongs at the forge where writing is of no use. He is kind and loving ; even after Pip has embarrassed him he comes back to take care of Pip when he's sick. Even though Joe knows what Pip thinks of him, he pretends to be ignorant just so he can save Pip from embarrassment. These foils helps enforce the theme that persons defined by society and "Ladies" and "Gentlemen" are not...
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