Great Expectations

March 29, 2009
By Margrave SILVER, San Antonio, Texas
Margrave SILVER, San Antonio, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In Phase II of Great Expectations, Pip, a young gentleman, betrays his true friends and family for the impossible love of a cold-hearted woman, Estella. Against his better judgment and conscience, Pip gives unconditional acceptance to Estella, a callous girl who preys on men destined to have their hearts broken. Recognizing his unconditional acceptance of Estella, Pip knows that he 'love[s] her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness,' (Dickens 179), and he will be plagued with 'sorrow, often and often, if not always' (179). Due to Miss Havisham's conniving and cruel ways and Estella's manipulative and mesmerizing personality, Pip has been twisted into a hopelessly-in-love boy who will soon grow up into a hopelessly-in-love man. His obsession with Estella causing jealousy and betrayal, Pip lives in a fantasy world, even convincing himself that Jaggers envies Pip's and Estella's destiny with each other. Although Pip recognizes his irrational and fruitless love, he refuses to act on this revelation, continuing to pursue the unobtainable goal of Estella's love. This recognition exhibits Pip's possible potential for independent greatness. His refusal to act on this potential gives insight into Pip's true character, a weak disposition that acts like putty in the hands of a manipulative witch. This unconditional acceptance is evident by Pip's continued love for Estella even though he sees her as a menace and as the femme fatale to the fulfillment of his promise.

Pip's twisted fantasies cause him to forsake his family and despise his friend because of his unfound belief that they are destroying his chances with his hopeless love, Estella, a girl who he yearns to please. Pip, once a devoted friend to his closest companion and surrogate father, Joe, now wishes he '[can keep] him away by paying money,' (169), so he doesn't embarrass himself in front of Estella by keeping such 'coarse' and 'unworthy' friends. Pip, a boy who was raised on Joe's undeserved kindness and unconditional love, leaves behind his best friend, his heartless betrayal a disgusting action. Pip, his truly sickening gesture demonstrating the lengths he will go to even have a small chance of pleasing Estella, a girl who barely calls on him, still wants to pay off Joe. The way Estella tortures Pip is revolting, leaving Pip with the feeling that he needs to abandon not only his friends and family, but also himself in the process, molding his character into one desirous to Estella's cruel intentions. Hoping Estella will see him to be desirable, Pip wishes that, 'Wemmick had not met [Pip]' (202), so Estella would not think he was any more coarse or common for having 'Newgate in [Pip's] breath and on [Pip's] clothes' (202), betraying one of his closest and most loyal friends for the sake of fresh breath. Pip's mentor and loyal advisor, Wemmick, is apparently not worth even a single one of Pip's breaths. Estella has twisted an innocent child into a young man who knows '[He shall] not come back, and that Biddy [is] quite right' (217), knowing that, for Estella, he will sacrifice everything ' his money, his friends and family, and his potential, just for an approving nod of her head. This depressing realization shows Pip he is permanently trapped in the cage of London and his new life. Recognizing that although Estella may not be destined for him through inheritance, Pip realizes his true benefactor, Magwitch, has given him the potential to still win Estella over. Therefore, Pip treats his benefactor, his convict, with respect and hospitality, offering '[Pip's] friend and companion's' (242) room, demonstrating his new found connection with Magwitch. By offering Herbert's room to him, Pip cements Magwitch as a, 'friend and companion,' (242) but only as long as he allows him to be a gentleman. Pip's unconditional love for Estella leads Pip to treat people as Estella would. Although he is Pip's benefactor, Pip is reluctant to be kind to Magwitch, considering him to be unworthy of Estella's respect. Pip only overlooks this fact because Magwitch is his benefactor. Pip is simply a puppet of a promise; Miss Havisham and Estella hold the strings of ill-destined Pip, committing acts of treachery in the name of revenge. In a cautionary tale that tells people to be true to themselves, Pip ultimately betrays himself and his honest companions, all for the hopeless love of a heartless lady.

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