Oliver Twist: The Battle For Morality

924 words - 4 pages

The Battle for Morality in Oliver Twist
In Oliver Twist, author Charles Dickens attacks the decomposing morals of Victorian society and law in the form of writing. He addresses major social conflicts and struggles between the rich, who hold positions of power, and the poor and working class who fight for economic justice. In addition, the book is representative of the need for moral values based on the author’s believe that people should not be oppressed, that every person deserves a chance. The story offers a contradiction central to bourgeois consciousness, which embraces conventional bourgeois ethics and demoralizes and suppresses the awareness of the harsh social realities. Dickens ...view middle of the document...

According to Dickens, these characters represent greed, moral decay and everything that is wrong with the upper class (perhaps even part of the middle class) in Victorian-era England.
Alternatively, Dicken’s characterizations of Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Maylie portray a direct contradiction to the aforementioned upper class, introducing confusion and in a sense, reality (unlike what the majority of the upper class thinks about the lower class, not everyone is the same). Mr. Brownlow’s love and kindness saves Oliver, and portrays him as a man who makes sure Oliver is well educated, loved, and nourished. For this reason, Mr. Brownlow is a representation of the morally upright in the Victorian masses, and epitome of true justice and fairness, the kinds that are not universally possible due to the corrupt system of the time. In addition, the characterization of Mrs. Maylie, a wealthy old woman, shows that she has a generous spirit - she rescues an orphan, Rose, and raises her as her own daughter, despite the stain on her name circulated by Mr. Leeford.
Another common source of moral conflict is the justice system (if any), which Dickens portrays through wit and satire (he introduces the readers to a magistrate who is drunk in the courtroom – an extremely qualified individual with the utmost of professionalism). Furthermore, it is also apparent that pickpocketing, among others crimes, is petty enough to wear there is no force taken to subdue it. For this reason, the crime rates continue to soar, and the poor unintentionally reinforce their own negative stereotypes. Dickens opinionates that the justice system can only be restored through reforms. By empowering the law to uphold its responsibility to punish and discipline wrongdoers, perhaps a breakthrough is possible. However, as the upper class hold the most power and the highest...

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