Moral Struggle in Great Expectations

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Moral Struggles of Great Expectations Pip is the main character of the novel desires to fulfil his expectations and the world he lives in does not gladly provide an easy way to his dream. Joe is his brother-in-law and his angry sister’s husband who treats Pip much better than her, just because he happens to have a bog heart. In the beginning of the novel, prior to Pip being exposed to the world he feels that he can satisfy his expectations, Joe and Pip are equals – the humbleness and loyalty that Joe displays are often similar to that of a child. Joe is comfortable with who he is and while he desires to learn from Pip once he becomes educated, he does not seek to be anything other than what he is. This, ideally, would have been a priceless lesson for Pip to learn, as it would have spared Pip from losing himself in a complex and corrupt world. Sadly, yet pivotally to the intrigue of the plot, it is only once Pip realises the error in his ways that he can see the true gentleman in Joe. Interestingly, it is something he identifies early on when he comments that “[I] was looking up to Joe in my heart” (49). This is not simply an affection of love, yet one of admiration and respect. It is once Joe repays Pip’s debts, and leaves to save Pip the ‘embarrassment’ of associating with him, that Pip realises the quality of Joe’s character. Joe embodies the true gentleman; while not of class, his character is class, and he continually displays qualities of loyalty and fidelity that Pip believes can be embodied by outward displays of wealth and education. Pip learns from Joe – albeit in hindsight and through his own personal crises – that wealth and class are not fundamental to being a gentleman. Mr Jaggers, the attorney of Pip’s mysterious benefactor and a ruthless and respected man in society, represents what Pip could become in the society he loses himself in. His standing as a gentleman is not based in the quality of his character (as he is a portrayed as a defence

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