The True Gentleman of Great Expectations

The True Gentleman of Great Expectations

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The True Gentleman of Great Expectations


To determine if someone is a gentleman, one must look within them and not focus upon their material wealth. In the novel Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, three characters show qualities of a true gentleman. Pip, Joe, and Provis have true gentlemen-like characteristics, which are shown through the way they live and present themselves.


Pip's actions towards others are those of an authentic gentleman. For example, when Provis is very ill and Pip is very kind and says, "I will never stir from your side" (891). This shows that Pip is willing to forget his own comforts and future plans to sit by Provis's side, making Provis's last days on earth comfortable. In addition, Pip saves Miss Havisham when she gets caught on fire: "I had a double-caped coat on...and I got them over her" and "she was insensible and I was afraid to have her moved or even touched" (875). This proves that Pip cares for other people, even if they have treated him poorly. When Pip helps Miss Havisham, it shows his consideration to those in need. Pip relieving Miss Havisham from the fire after she was "coarse and common" towards him, shows Pip has a favorable heart. In conclusion, Pip's behavior towards others is that of a gentleman because Pip treats others with tenderness and affection.


Joe's actions are those of a true gentleman. For example, Joe defends Mrs. Joe from Orlick even though he is scared of Orlick himself: "What could the wretched Joe do now...but stand up to his, without so much as pulling off their singed and burnt aprons, they went at one another, like two giants" (773). Joe is intimidated by Orlick and by Joe defending Mrs. Joe from Orlick shows that Joe has courageousness. Joe is a benevolent person by stepping up to Orlick to help Mrs. Joe. In addition, Joe pays off Pip's debts and Pip finds "a receipt for which they had been paid off" (899). Joe paying off Pip's debts shows he is a helpful and caring person. Joe is being considerate by helping Pip become debt-free. It is ironic that Joe helps Pip because Pip hasn't been a considerate person to Joe but he helps Pip regardless.

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Joe's heart is that of a true gentleman due to the courageousness and consideration he has towards others.


Provis's actions show he has the heart and mind of a genuine gentleman. For example, Provis shows he cares about Pip by telling him "I lived rough, that you should live smooth; I worked hard that you should be above work" (844). Provis keeps on saying how anything he had bad he wanted Pip to have better. Provis making Pip's life so much easier by becoming his benefactor shows Provis is charitable. Provis devoting his life and his money to repay someone for old times is very generous and by doing so it makes Provis an honorable person. In addition, Provis shows he is not a selfish person by saying he would not want anything in return after being Pip's benefactor: "Do I tell it fur you to feel an obligation? Not a bit" (844). This shows that Provis has a good heart by not being greedy. Provis is just trying to thank Pip from long ago and by doing this Provis wants nothing in return. Provis has both a heart and a mind of a genuine gentleman.


Pip, Joe, and Provis all display gentleman-like qualities. In doing so, it makes all three of them a gentleman within themselves. Although within society you are considered a gentleman based on your social class, it should be based on who you are. A true gentleman is one who is willing to care for and respect another and himself.

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