Portrayal of the Victorian Era in Great Expectations Essay

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Written during the Victorian Era (1850-1900) Charles Dickens's Great Expectations has echoes of Victorian Morality all throughout the novel. When looked up in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, morality is defined as "the evaluation of or means of evaluating human conduct as a set of ideas of right and wrong and as a set of customs of a given society, class, or social groups which regulate relationships and prescribes modes of behavior to enhance the groups survival." Although the Victorian Era occurred over one hundred years ago, the given definition is clearly portrayed through the use of several morally different characters. These characters are shown over a lengthy period of time and at many different stages in…show more content…
Pip is an honest boy who can barely live with himself after what he has done, but never tells Joe his good friend, or Ms. Joe, Joe's wife. The class system becomes a focal point in young Pip's life. Pip first began to think about his place in society when he was sent to visit the wealthy, old lady, Miss Havisham at her mansion. Through these visits Pip becomes socially conscious and begins to dislike his commonality. Almost instantly he wants to become uncommon. The adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, Estella, becomes a focal point and goal for Pip to obtain. Any morality Pip used to have slips away with each visit. Pip walks in circles in a barely lit room with Miss Havisam holding onto his shoulder and in doing so, Pip is somehow leaving behind all the values he was raised with. Miss Havisham and Estella end up corrupting Pip with the rich life. Greed, beauty and hubris are Pips downward spiral into an immoral life. Pip finds Estella very attractive, but Estella calls him common and this does not sit well with Pip. All of Pip's expectations of becoming a rich gentleman are due to this love of Estella. Pip is informed that he is going to London to begin his gentlemanly education and this only serves to feed into his new obsession. The first to see this is wholesome and virtuous Joe. Joe was a caring and compassionate man and stays true to his character throughout the novel. It is
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