In the first part of Great Expectations, Abel is first introduced as an escaped convict that finds the main character Pip mourning the death of his family in the graveyard. Being the starving escaped criminal that he is, Magwitch hoists Pip into the air and demands that Pip bring him some food and a file,” Or [Abel] will have [Pip’s] heart and liver out”(pg.4). Our first impression of Abel is that he is a violent criminal looking only to keep alive and away from prison by any means necessary. On his way back to the convict with the food and file, Pip runs into another convict who is beaten and bruised, as soon as he realizes that he is not the first convict, he runs away. Pip gives the food to Magwitch, who, to our surprise, is very grateful of Pip. This is the first instance of Magwitch’s good nature, he could have just taken the items and left Pip, or even killed him, but instead he thanks him. The final time we see Magwitch in the f...
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... captured again and is to be put to death, however because of the sickness that he contracts during the events he ends up dying before, with Pip by his bedside. He says “Thank’ee dear boy, thank’ee. God bless you! You’ve never deserted me, dear boy.”(pg.464) Even in his dying moments Magwitch still is grateful to Pip for being like the son he never had.
Abel Magwitch has shown throughout the book that even though his life was filled with regrets, he was still a good man, if not one of the best men. In the beginning he is a convict that might not be so bad. Then he becomes the secret benefactor of Pip’s expectations, bringing a new light to his character. And in the end he becomes like a second (or maybe third?) father to Pip. In all, Abel Magwitch is a perfect example of how the line between good and evil is blurred in the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
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