Essay about The Rehabilitated Magwitch in Great Expectations

Essay about The Rehabilitated Magwitch in Great Expectations

Length: 1310 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Rehabilitated Magwitch in Great Expectations

   "A warmint, dear boy" is the answer that Magwitch gives Pip when asked what he was brought up to be (305; ch. 40). This is what any person would expect from a man who has lived a life of crime. With further exploration, however, one will see that it is deeper than petty theft and prison. By using a character such as Magwitch, Dickens suggests the implications of using the Australian penal colonies as a way of rehabilitation for criminals. It is quite possible that Dickens has portrayed a view of penal colonies in a very positive way. After all, Magwitch is a successful, even famous, ex-convict who is responsible for Pip's wealth. By exploring the character Magwitch, one will have a better understanding of Dickens' views on Australian penal colonies.


Magwitch has lived the life of crime. It wasn't until he meets Pip, that he begins to change. The reason Magwitch was sent to the Botany Bay penal colony was for "putting stolen notes in circulation" (323; ch. 42). His companion, Compeyson, and chief engineer of the project was given a lesser sentence due to his education and wealthy appearance. Magwitch was not so lucky and was forced to endure the trials and tribulations of servitude in the penal colonies. Not much is mentioned in Great Expectations regarding the actual colonies. It is interesting, however, that Dickens would chose to include a character that is not simply killed but transported to vicious and cruel servitude that turned his life around. Magwitch's past criminal record would have fit the normal stereotype of criminals sent to the colonies. He had a past record before being tried on felony charges and would have been deemed un...

... middle of paper ...

...eturning from the penal colonies, Magwitch wants to start anew and chooses Pip as his benefactor.


Hence, the reader will see that the intentions of Dickens to portray a successful ex-convict of the penal system illuminates the idea that the penal colonies were a successful way of rehabilitating the trash of England. After all, Magwitch was rehabilitated, made an honest living, and tried to support a child who had helped him long ago. Dickens creates a character that could have possibly been used as a device to positively portray the Australian penal colonies.

Works Cited

Coles, Robert. "Charles Dickens and the Law." Virginia Quarterly Review 59 (1983): 564-586.

Collins, Phillip. Dickens and Crime. New York: St. Martin's, 1962.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Janice Carlisle. New York: St. Martin's P, 1996.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Defining Magwitch in Great Expectations Essay

- Defining Magwitch in Great Expectations Great Expectations was written in the era of Queen Victoria; ironically a time of great progress and prosperity. Sadly, this was not the case for all. Education benefited the rich. As a result, there was a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The justice system was harsh, favouring the rich, two hundred men and women were put before the judge to be sentenced to death every week. It is clear that Dickens reflects on the society of the time, and shows the unjust, class divided society Magwitch was a part of and the need to reform a legal system which treated this man so unjustly....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Strong Essays
1041 words (3 pages)

Theme Of Reflection In Great Expectations Essay

- In his novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens recounts the tale of how Pip goes from neediness to riches because of the benevolence of somebody who remains a mystery. The account itself is told from Pip's perspective, and in itself, is an impression of the past. The peruser is given the extent of things through his eyes, in spite of the fact that what his eyes see is not generally what the peruser encounters. Dickens utilizes the component of reflection all through his novel with Pip, now and then as an issue of straightforwardness, as when Pip recounts his adolescence....   [tags: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Abel Magwitch]

Strong Essays
1744 words (5 pages)

Essay on Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

- “Great Expectations” is a general interpretation of Charles Dickens childhood. Narrated by Pip who is of the lower class and was expected, at first to be a blacksmith, until a secret benefactor had supplied Pip with money to become a gentleman in London. There are always two sides to every story in “Great Expectations”. Pip 's life and character is developed in positive and negative ways through Joe and his benefactor, Abel Magwitch. Joe starts Pip’s development into a gentleman through the protection and unconditional love he constantly gives to Pip....   [tags: Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, Abel Magwitch]

Strong Essays
909 words (2.6 pages)

Great Expectations, By Charles Dickens Essay

- There are many factors that contribute to what a person’s life is like, and will end up like. Of those many factors, the influence of others, especially between a father and son, is particularly impactful. In the book Great Expectations; Pip had no father but had many fatherly supporters. Some of his most important influences were: Joe Gargery, Abel Magwitch, Mr. Jaggers, and Matthew Pocket. All four of these father figures had a hand in the shaping of Pip’s personality and destiny. They made Pip the kind, bold, educated, and beloved gentleman he turned out to be in the end....   [tags: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Abel Magwitch]

Strong Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

The Problem of Magwitch's return in Great Expectations Essay

- The Problem of Magwitch's return in Great Expectations It would be fair to say that Australia's role in Great Expectations is fairly minimal. It simply functions as a plot device; a place to deposit Magwitch when he is no longer required and a place for him to return from when needed again to further the plot. With the rise in postcolonial studies, however, Australia and Magwitch's experiences there have become the focal points for new readings of the novel. Thus it is through a postcolonial reading of Great Expectations that the issue of Magwitch's return can be addressed....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
943 words (2.7 pages)

Pip's Relationship with Magwitch in Great Expectations Essay

- How does Dickens use Pips relationship with Magwitch to interest the reader. -------------------------------------------------------------------- The novel called ‘Great Expectations’ written by Charles Dickens, uses a very unique relationship between two characters to form the main ‘stem’ of the book. Pip’s relationship with Abel Magwitch is extremely interesting because it is so significant. It is at the heart of the book mainly for the reason that it is the closest and deepest relationship between any two characters in the whole novel....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Strong Essays
3109 words (8.9 pages)

Essay on Magwitch's Manipulations of Pip in Great Expectations

- Magwitch's Manipulations of Pip in Great Expectations        In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens criticizes the motivation of the lower classes to rise to the level of wealth and education held by the upper classes by showing the extent to which Pip is exploited by Magwitch to meet these goals. To meet the expectations of the gentleman, Pip must leave his family and any possibility of earning his living in order to satisfy the educational and societal demands of this standard. Magwitch, a social deviant, hopes to prove his viability by using his unfortunate circumstances to produce a gentleman entirely by his own effort....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Strong Essays
2502 words (7.1 pages)

Essay about Audience's Response to Magwitch in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

- Audience's Response to Magwitch in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations Charles Dickens wrote great Expectations in 1860. It is set on the marshes in Kent near to the river Medway in the 1820's. It is written in the first person, as the narrator introduces himself as Pip, in the beginning of the first chapter. The story is of Pip's life as he is the central character. It was set by the river Medway because Dickens liked to walk along the river in the early mornings. The village where Pip lives is based on Cooling, a few miles from Rochester, Kent....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
2127 words (6.1 pages)

Miss Havisham and Magwitch from Great Expectations Essay

- Discuss the relationship between character and location in the case of Magwitch and the marshes; Miss Havisham and Satis House (chapters 1-19) Both the characters Miss Havisham and Magwitch are linked closely with their respective surroundings, as Dickens employs imagery and pathetic fallacy to illustrate this. Although many characters in Great Expectations reflect their environments, the relationship of Miss Havisham and Magwitch offer a particular contrast. The novel echoes many of Dickens’s own life experiences, and the reader is given a strong flavour of Victorian history and commonplace....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Strong Essays
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Great Expectations - Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are Living through Others

- Great Expectations - Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are Living through Others In the work Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, two characters live their lives through someone else. Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are both elderly and though someone else are able to obtain their goals that they are not able to complete themselves. Abel Magwitch lives his life through the protagonist Pip while Miss Havisham lives her life through the character Estella. Miss Havisham is an aged, mysterious lady who has much anger....   [tags: Great Expectations]

Strong Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)