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The Vengeful Miss Havisham Great Expectations

786 words - 3 pages

The Vengeful Miss Havisham - Great Expectations.

In Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham is a complex
character whose past remains a mystery. We know about her broken
engagement, an event that changes her life forever. Miss Havisham
desperately wants revenge, and Estella, her adopted daughter, is the
perfect tool to carry out her motives. With her plan of revenge in
mind, Miss Havisham deliberately raises Estella to avoid emotional
attachment and treat those who love her with cruelty. A specific quote
in the book, where Miss Havisham tells Pip that he must love Estella
at all costs, sheds light on Miss Havisham's vengeful character. One
can draw parallels from the life of Miss Havisham to the life that she
wants to force on someone else for revenge. Miss Havisham was used,
she was wounded, and she will never be whole again.

Miss Havisham asks Pip how Estella uses him. Estella uses Pip as her
"mental punching bag," insulting him, laughing at him, and treating
him with disdain. In asking this question, Miss Havisham implies that
she was used herself, and indeed she was. Her fiancé, the genteel
criminal Compeyson, manipulated Miss Havisham and snatched away her
money and her heart. The devastation of this failed engagement forever
changes Miss Havisham's character: she becomes a suspicious and
vengeful individual. She trusted once, and was burned; she will
probably never trust again. Although Miss Havisham was used, the
failed engagement is also a result of her spoiled character and ways.
While courting Compeyson, Miss Havisham refuses to listen to her
cousin, Mr. Pocket. He warns her about Compeyson and his ways, but the
spoiled Miss Havisham, who is never forced to do anything, is not
about to take orders or reason with anyone. Parallels can be drawn
between these characters. Both "plots": Compeyson's and Arthur's,
Estella's and Miss Havisham's, are centered around revenge. Arthur
wants to get back at his half-sister for being cheated out of the
brewery business, and Miss Havisham and Estella want to seek revenge
on all men who love Estella. Estella is being trained to ruin the
lives of men, just as Miss Havisham's fiancé ruined hers.

In Miss Havisham's address to Pip, she tells him to love Estella even
if she wounds him. Perhaps the reason that she stops the clocks, never
changes out of her yellowing wedding gown, and keeps the rotting
wedding cake is to perpetuate her hope that her fiancé will return.
This means that either Miss Havisham...

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