David Copperfield's Heroes
Topics: Charles Dickens / Pages: 7 (1698 words) / Published: Jun 3rd, 2013

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” (1) So begins Charles Dickens story of David Copperfield, written much after the tale’s events have happened. David is in his 30’s when he pens the first chapter, which details the hours leading up to his birth as Aunt Betsey arrives at the inaptly-named Rookery. He is recalling his epic life and writing it down to figure out if he has become the “hero” of his life – and if not, then who. Whether he is the hero of his own is arguable, but to others he is not. In each of the main conflicts – within the Wickfield, Peggoty, and even Copperfield households – he has been a quiet observer but unwilling or unable to solve these problems. So who are the heroes within David Copperfield, and what attributes create a Dickensian hero?
Every household has a tragedy and a villain. And from each conflict a hero emerges; Aunt Betsey rescues David from the Murdstones, Mr. Micawber exposes Uriah Heep to the Wickfields, and Martha finds Emily and returns her to the Peggotys. All of them are also unexpected heroes; they have some of the largest faults in the book but turn out to be others’ saviors. Moreover they are complete foils to the story’s main villains. The heroes are driven to rise against the villains by their previous victimizations; past experiences brought them misery and they are determined to save the ones that are feeling the same pain. Dickens uses these pitiable characters that eventually rise to heroism to commentate on society’s proneness to instantly judge a person. He argues that only when after a person has hit rock bottom can they save others, and that being less fortunate makes one a more sympathetic person.
David Copperfield jumps into tragedy in the first several chapters. When the Murdstones have taken over David’s life, Clara Copperfield, his mother, dies of heartbreak and David is sent to toil in a factory where he has no

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