Great Expectations


An Analysis of Major Characters


Pip is the narrator and protagonist of Great Expectations. He begins the novel young and idealistic, but as his dreams never materialize, Pip becomes more aware of what is important to him as a person. In love with Estella, Pip faces constant scrutiny and rejection from the object of his affection and her guardian, Miss Havisham. Pip desires to gain upward social mobility, but he is unable to find his place in high society. When he discovers that his benefactor is Magwitch and not Miss Havisham, Pip grows as a person. He discovers that “becoming a gentleman” is less about money and social status and more about the manner in which he treats others.


Estella is Miss Havisham’s ward and the object of Pip’s affection. She is beautiful but cold. No matter how badly Estella treats him, Pip cannot deny his love for Estella. The worse she treats him, the more Pip falls in love with Estella. Despite Estella’s importance to Pip, her character is ultimately one-dimensional. Readers know little about her other than her beauty. Eventually, Estella breaks Pip’s heart by marrying Drummle, his oaf of a classmate. However, at the end of the novel, Pip and Estella find one another in the ruined garden of Satis House.

Miss Havisham

Miss Havisham is a rich, eccentric hag who lives in the decrepit Satis House manor. Years ago, Miss Havisham was deserted at the altar by Compeyson, who saw her as a business scheme and nothing more. Consequently, Miss Havisham raises Estella to be cruel toward men. Through Estella, Miss Havisham is able to enact her revenge. However, Miss Havisham is often captured within the dream world of her wedding; she flits around Satis House in her wedding attire as if she still has the chance to find love and get married.

Abel Magwitch (“The Convict”)

Magwitch is a rough criminal who has escaped from prison at the beginning of the novel. Magwitch terrorizes Pip at the...

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Essays About Great Expectations