Great Expectations: Gods Law Vs. Human Law Essay

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Great Expectations: God's Law vs. Human Law

In his book Great Expectations, the problematic nature of moral judgement and justice that stems from a conflict between God's law and human law is one of several topical themes that Charles Dickens addresses. This paradox regularly surfaces in his treatment of plot and setting, and is more subtlety illustrated in his use of character. To facilitate the reader's awareness of such a conflict, the narrator often uses language that has Christian connotations when relating his thoughts and when giving descriptions of the environment, characters and events that take place. While these things allude to divine and moral law, the story itself revolves around crime and criminals, thereby
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(45) Pip becomes familiar with guilt and injustice at a very young age, and these issues become central to his motivations throughout his life as a young man. Ironically it is Orlick, the most contemptible character in the novel who is Mrs. Joe's unwitting agent of justice. Orlick, who embodies selfishness and violence, is never brought to justice for his murderous behavior.
Magwitch is another example of a failed justice system. Superficially, he appears to personify evil and moral corruption. Pip finds him horrifying upon their first encounter and equally revolting when he returns to London as Provis.
Despite all this, we learn that he is a loving, generous, sympathetic man who risks his life to see Pip and spends his fortune to repay Pip for an act of kindness. While he is a criminal, and deserving of punishment from the law, he is simultaneously

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