Great Expectations: A Synopsis

Topics: Prison, Great Expectations, Estella Havisham Pages: 3 (936 words) Published: September 15, 2010
"The worst prisons are those we create for ourselves." To what extent do you agree?
Set in the l9th Century Victorian England, many of the main characters in Great Expectations' are imprisoned either virtually or metaphorically. Magwich is an actual prisoner of the English penal system, and is also a prisoner of his own desire to revenge Compeyson and the class system. Miss Havisham ad Pip create prisons for themselves out of their own fixations and obsessions. It could also be argued that Pip and Estella are both metaphorically imprisoned by Miss Havisham and Magwitch's need to revenge. Although the description of Newgate is ghastly, and the effects of the prisons imposed upon Pip and Estella are difficult to overcome- the detrimental lite and psychological effects on Pip, Miss Havisham and Magwitch resultant of their self imposed prisons are the worst prisons of all, because they are so illusive and deceptive, that the characters often don't know of their existence until the damage is done.

Through his exposure to Satis House and Estella's taunting malice, Pip becomes aware of his social inferiority, and thus sprouts the first seeds of discontent with his class. Like a distant yet alluring star, Pip is tantalised by Estella's wealth and beauty, and out of his exposure to her his all consuming obsession with becoming a gentelman emerges. Ironically, when this idea first emerged, Pip really had very little understanding of what a gentleman was. Although he cannot articulate whether he has this desire "to spite her or to gain her over," this fervent urge dictates the direction of his life. He becomes imprisoned into a superficial and narrow be.rcf that a gentleman is someone with wealth, status and learning, and will go to any lengths to achieve this aim, albeit rejecting Joe and Biddy.

Pip gains his great expectations frorn Magwitch, and although he was metaphorically imprisoned by Magwitch's exploitation of him to revenge the class system- Pip had...
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