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The World of Laws, Crime and Punishment in Great Expectations Great Expectations criticises the Victorian judicial and penal system. Through the novel, Charles Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of such system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. In treating the theme of the Victorian system of punishment, Dickens shows his position against prisons, transportation and death penalty. The main character, a little child who has expectations of becoming a gentleman to be of the same social position of the girls he loves, passes from having no interest on criminality and its penalties to be very concerned on the issue. By means of other characters, for instance Mrs. Joe Gargery, Dickens tries to define the people's common view about convicts, transportation and capital punishment. In portraying the character of the convict, Dickens sets out the case in hand of two people sentenced to transportation for forgery of banknotes and analyses their psychology. By reading the novel, the reader becomes aware of the Victorian unfair justice regarding poor and illiterate people, but advantageous towards the rich and educated middle-class. The prison system in England may have had a significant effect on the life and writing of Charles Dickens due to his father's imprisonment in Marshalsea Debtors' Prison as a consequence of his debts. These kinds of prisons came to be workhouses for people who had lost all their belongings. In case debtors had family, it must accompany them in prison. This painful experience may have kept way in his mind for the rest of his life. His involvement with the legal world came when he was employed as a clerk at a lawyer's office. His later interest in penology made him read many works related to this subject. For this reason, he incorporated both the treatment of convicts and capital punishment in many novels. Great Expectations is a harsh criticism on the British legal and penal System as well as on Victorian society, achieved after exploring his characters' behaviour, since the laws were only unfair for those on the bottom rung of the social ladder. London was one of the greatest cities in the world in the 19th C. At this time huge amounts of money were invested in industry and buildings as trade with other countries increased. On the other side of the business world, made rich by the cheap labour of the exploited working class, there was a world of poverty, theft and criminality, increased by the Industrial Revolution. In this acquisitive society, the only important thing was to make fortune, so people were much terrified of losing it. Because of this, any sort of theft was regarded as a serious crime and laws were made to show people that this offence was harshly punished. At the time when Great Expectations is set, the 1810-20s, there were a great number of offenders, most of whom were convicted of theft. Theft was considered a felony like homicide and was punishable with death. Jails were dark, overcrowded and filthy. All kinds of prisoners were kept together with no separation of men and women, the young and the old, or the sane and the insane. The poor conditions of the Victorian prisons are described in detail by Dickens in Great Expectations. In the 2nd volume of the novel, Pip comes across "a grim stone building" 163: Newgate Prison. Looking with horror, Pip offers us a portrait of the inside of the prison and criticism on capital punishment: "As I declined the proposal on the plea of an appointment, he was so good as to take me into a yard and show me where the gallows was kept, and also where people were publicly whipped, and then he showed me the Debtors' door, out of which culprits came to be hanged: heightening the interest of that dreadful portal by giving me to understand that ''four on 'em'' would come out at the door the day after tomorrow at eight in the morning to be killed in a row. This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London" 164 At this time the reformation of the British Prison System took place and a new alternative for punishment was found in transportation. Regarding the colonialist question, the Victorians believed that the easiest and cheapest way of eliminating the criminal element from the British society was sending them as far as they could and never allowing them to return under threat of having them executed. Many prisoners were convicted because of little thefts such as stealing pocket-handkerchiefs, watches, and jewellery, and the forgery of banknotes. All these little offences, considered as serious crimes, represented a threat to the Victorian commerce. Dickens writes about transportation in the 1860s, when it ceased to be a system of punishment. Probably, Dickens wanted to show how unfair it was to eliminate criminality of the Victorian society by sentencing convicts to transportation as it were not a social problem. The hulks, the name that received the ships that transported convicts to the penal colony Australia, were used as floating prisons. In the novel, Dickens offers the reader a portrait of the convicts when being transported to the hulks: "At that time it was customary to carry Convicts down to the dockyards by stage-coach ... The two convicts were handcuffed together, and had irons on their legs-irons of a pattern that I knew well. They wore the dress that I likewise knew well. Their keeper had a brace of pistols, and carried a thick-knobbed bludgeon under his arm; but he was on terms of good understanding with them, and stood, with them beside him, looking on at the putting-to of horses, rather with an air as if the convicts were an interesting Exhibition not formally open at the moment"¦" 224 Before reaching Australia, convicts spent about eight months on the hulks doing a hard labour for ten hours a day. It was very difficult to survive the horrors of the hulks because not only they were overcrowded, but also there were contagious diseases and malnutrition. As 'Convicts to Australia' reports, "Convicts were housed below decks on the prison deck and often further confined behind bars. In many cases they were restrained in chains and were only allowed on deck for fresh air and exercise. Conditions were cramped and they slept on hammocks". Also the treatment of convicts on trips was inhuman: "Cruel masters, harsh discipline and scurvy, dysentery and typhoid resulted in a huge loss of life". Governed by rules based on survival instead of mutual aid among convicts, the life on the hulks was quite difficult. The cause was that the legal system mixed thieves with criminals. That is, people who committed little thefts because of their poor condition and people with mental diseases capable of committing crimes. For all these reasons, many convicts attempted to escape from the hulks, which makes an appearance in the opening chapters of Great Expectations as the Hulks are part of Pip's habitat. Pip and his family were eating when the guns were fired, which warned people about convicts' escape from the hulks. Once the convicts entered Australia, they were assigned their labours: to work for the government or to work for a landowner. The common view of Victorian society was that convicts were brutal and senseless criminals as, at the beginning of the novel, Mrs. Joe Gargery explains Pip "People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad" 14. Common people showed their solidarity with the forces of law when helping the soldiers to find the escaped convicts as happens in the first chapters. As showed in the last part of the novel, people liked witnessing trials and executions and enjoyed themselves seeing the condemned suffering. This was like a show, which reminds us of the Roman spectacle in the theatre with gladiators and Christians and lions. Charles Dickens not only analyses the criminal psychology, but also that of the little pieces that compound both legal and penal system. In the novel, Mr. Jaggers is the representative figure of the lawyer of the time. His office is located in Little Britain, the street where lawyers had their offices, near the Old Bailey criminal courts and Newgate prison. That is, the Old Town of London: the world of criminality. Dickens describes the interior of the lawyers' offices through Pip the first moment he enters Mr. Jaggers' office: "To Pip's eyes the rooms seem filled with shabby people "¦.These are sinister misfits whose appearances suggest death and degradation and dirt rather than the predictability and neatness we associate with lawyers today. There is an atmosphere of corruption or at least the possibility of it" Barnes. This sinister office also contains in its walls the busts of two clients who died in gallows. This description has contact with reality, as there was a room in Newgate prison where there were many busts of executed prisoners, in which stuck out the mark that the rope had made in their necks. "There were not so many papers about, as I should have expected to see; and there were some odd objects about, that I should not have expected to see-such as an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several strange-looking boxes and packages, and two dreadful casts on a shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose" 162. The lawyer's office is also near Smithfield market, a cattle market where animals were slaughtered publicly. The comparison between Smithfield and Newgate is established when Pip is conducted inside the prison and imagines that convicts are going to be executed in the same way as animals are in Smithfield. Mr. Jaggers, the sinister lawyer, has a strong character in the exercise of power. He provokes horror on Pip as Pip notices his unpleasant tone when arguing with his clerk, Mr. Wemmick, and the way he threats his clients. "The description of his office suggests that a large part of his work as a solicitor consists of manipulating evidence and he is always seen followed by a troop of supplicants whom he brushes off disdainfully, much as someone might try to get rid of a tiresome puppy "¦. He bullies them and gleefully profits from their problems" Barnes. The treatment of his housekeeper, Molly, is also another example of his character. Molly was time ago one of his clients, accused of murder. After having defended her and won the trial, she became his submissive housekeeper. Being exhibited as an animal, she was forced to show her disfigured and scarred wrists to the guests Pip, Dummle and Startop in a meal 212. Another example of Mr. Jaggers' power is the fact that his clients have never dared steal in his house despite never locking the door and having objects of great value because they fear him. Furthermore, there is also another passage in which Pip accompanies Mr. Jaggers to the Police Court to examine a client. Here readers can see the fear the clients have of Mr. Jaggers when saying something that he didn't approve 200. Regarding Mr. Jaggers' private life, the world of law is his only life because he has not disconnected the private life from the work. Thus his life is only focused on the office, which is contrasted with his clerk's life. Mr. Wemmick separates radically his personal life in the castle and his office life. The separation of the two lives almost makes him like two people who behave differently in the two spaces. As Anne Barnes observes, "Wemmick and other office clerks were more likely to move just south of the river to places like Walworth, from where it was easy to commute daily into the City". "Wemmick himself, who in Walworth seems a model of upright living, sees nothing sinister about wearing pieces of jewellery which have been given to him as bribes by people who have now been executed for their crimes. The acquiring of portable property by dubious means is regarded as a normal part of legal life" Barnes. Contrary to him, Mr. Jaggers lived in a gloomy apartment, near to Little Britain, filled with books related to his profession. The Lord Chief of Justice the judge and the prison authorities are also treated in the novel. Not only are they presented as people who made business by charging the entry for the judicial spectacle, but also stealing clothes after executing prisoners: ""¦ the more so as the Lord Chief Justice's proprietor wore from his hat down to his boots and up again to his pocket-handkerchief inclusive mildewed clothes, which had evidently not belonged to him originally, and which, I took it into my head, he had bought cheap of the executioner" 164. Moreover, there was a law whereby the money of an emancipated convict who dared to return Great Britain was confiscated by the government. Dickens exemplifies this in the novel when Magwitch is caught in the river and all the money given to Pip is seized by the government. Apart from this, prison authorities made business just inviting people to enter there by some money, which is shown through Pip's eyes: "While I looked about me here, an exceedingly dirty and partially drunk minister of justice asked me if I would like to step in and hear the trial or so: informing me that he could give me a front place for half-a-crown, whence I should command a full view of the Lord Chief Justice in his wig and robes-mentioning that awful personage like waxwork, and presently offering him at the reduced price of eighteenpence" 164. Through the novel, Dickens tries to demonstrate that convicts were victims of the cruel laws that sentenced people to death or transportation, just only for being poor. By doing this, he explores the criminal psychology to difference the good-hearted criminal punished for his/her social status and that greedy criminal who uses people to get profit. As Leavis and Lewis point out, "Dickens is always asking questions such as 'Why do people in similar circumstances and under the same pressure behave differently?' ". Abel Magwitch is one of the two criminals portrayed in the novel who represents the honest man punished for his social status. He was a vagrant who survived due to little theft. He spent all his youth "in jail and out of jail" 342 and all his adulthood in Australia. He was imprisoned for putting forged banknotes into circulation, a common activity that increased during the first half of the 19th C. He received a harder sentence because of his harsh manners when defending himself and his wretch appearance, but mostly for his antecedents 346. Then, he was punished with transportation and was sent to New South Wales, Australia. There, he was assigned to a private landowner and worked as a shepherd until his master's death also an emancipated convict, when he was left all his money and emancipated himself. As an honest man he earned the money by working several years instead of stealing it. Australia meant a new life for the convicted poor because it was rich in primary resources and there were lots of opportunities to get rich. Magwitch understands that despite being wealthy, he will never ascend the social ladder in a heartless society that rejects convicted and ex-convicted people. Magwitch once heard a colonist saying: "He was a convict, a few year ago, and is an ignorant common fellow now, for he's lucky" 317. So He became a benefactor of the little child who helped him on the marshes of Kent and decided to make him a gentleman as a symbol of gratitude towards Pip. When he returned England to see the boy he helped, he was sentenced to death, without pardon. As Leavis and Lewis claim, "Charles Dickens was very sensitive to the physical and psychological effects that punishment had on the individuals" . The psychological effect that transportation left in Magwitch is the fact that he sleeps with a pistol on the pillow 320. Another theme in this novel regarding Magwitch is the idea of fatherhood. He was not allowed to take care of his daughter, Estella, and he was said that she was dead. So the protection for his daughter and his feelings of parenthood are shown in his relationship towards Pip considering himself as Pip's second father. However, Pip, being a respectable gentleman, feels repugnance towards the convict. His snobbish attitude cannot support the idea of being a gentleman because of the gratitude of a convict. Compeyson is the other criminal portrayed by Dickens who represents meanness, greed and disloyalty. He was a gentleman as he was educated in a boarding school. He forged the banknotes so that his associate Magwitch could put them into circulation. He used Magwitch, like he used Miss. Havisham to get her money, to get profit of him in case they were caught. In the trial he got a lesser sentence due to his education and rich appearance, which Magwitch had not. Here Dickens demonstrates that laws were unfair for those on the bottom of the ladder, but not for the gentlemen. The theme of prisons as punishment is also treated in the novel. As I mentioned before, the first time Pip meets Newgate prison, he goes out of the tour round the prison with horror. This feeling is widened when Magwitch is sentenced to death and sent to this prison. Despite being ill, he is jailed in the common prison with sane and insane prisoners. There, some sick prisoners acted as nurses for the prisoners who were worse 453. It is said that Dickens Newgate prison not only is part of the history of England, but also a part of Dickens life. The experience Dickens obtained in his childhood and the visits he made to Newgate may have given him such information to write the novel with a realist tone. By means of the narration of Pip taking care of Magwitch in Newgate, Dickens express his attitude towards the conditions of the British prisons and his totally rejection of capital punishment when the condemned are waiting for the sentence of execution: "Penned in the dock "¦ were the two-and-thirty men and women; some defiant some stricken with terror, some sobbing and weeping, some covering their faces, some staring gloomily about "¦. They were all formally doomed, and some of them were supported out, and some of them sauntered out with a haggard look of bravery, and a few nodded to the gallery and others went out chewing the fragments of herb they had taken from the sweet herbs lying about" 451-452. It is when Pip learns to feel beyond the mask of respectability that he sees the unfair justice that condemns people with good-hearts: "For now, my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who meant to be my benefactor, and who had left affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years" 441. As a conclusion, Charles Dickens criticises both sorts of punishment, the prison system and transportation as well as the unfairness carried for the judicial systems when creating laws little favourable for the poor. At the same time, he points out the Victorian hypocrisy of the rich and the lack of culture of the poor regarding the world of criminality.
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The World of Laws, Crime and Punishment in Great Expectations Great Expectations criticises the Victorian judicial and penal system. Through the novel, Charles Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of such system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. In treating the theme of the Victorian system of punishment, Dickens shows his position against prisons, transportation and death penalty. The main character, a little child who has expectations of becoming a gentleman to be of the same social position of the...
hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who meant to be my benefactor, and who had left affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years" 441.

As a conclusion, Charles Dickens criticises both sorts of punishment, the prison system and transportation as well as the unfairness carried for the judicial systems when creating laws little favourable for the poor. At the same time, he points out the Victorian hypocrisy of the rich and the lack of culture of the poor regarding the world of criminality.

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Murray Kempton once admitted, 'No great...Murray Kempton once admitted, 'No great scoundrel is ever uninteresting.' The human race continually focuses on characters who intentionally harm others and create damaging situations for their own benefit. Despite popular morals, characters who display an utter disregard for the natural order of human life are characters who are often deemed iconic and are thoroughly scrutinized. If only the characters of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights were as simple as that. Set on the mysterious and gloomy Yorkshire moors in the nineteenth century, Wuthering Heights gives the illusion of lonesome isolation as a stranger, Mr. Lockwood, attempts to narrate a tale he is very far removed from. Emily Bronte's in-depth novel can be considered a Gothic romance or an essay on the human relationship. The reader may regard the novel as a serious study of human problems such as love and hate, or revenge and jealousy. One may even consider the novel Bronte's personal interpretation of the universe. However, when all is said and done, Heathcliff and Catherine are the story. Their powerful presence permeates throughout the novel, as well as their complex personalities. Their climatic feelings towards each other and often selfish behavior often exaggerates or possibly encapsulates certain universal psychological truths humans are too afraid to express. Heathcliff and Catherine's stark backgrounds evolve respectively into dark personalities and mistaken life paths, but in the end their actions determine the course of their own relationships and lives. Their misfortunes, recklessness, willpower, and destructive passion are unable to penetrate the eternal love they share. Heathcliff's many-faceted existence is marked by wickedness, love, and strength. His dark actions are produced by the distortion of his natural personality. Although Heathcliff was once subjected to vicious racism due to his dark skin color and experienced wearisome orphan years in Liverpool, this distortion had already begun when Mr. Earnshaw brought him into Wuthering Heights, a "dirty, ragged, black-haired child"45; ch.7. Already he was inured to hardship and uncomplainingly accepted suffering. Heathcliff displays his strength and steadfastness when he had the measles, and when Hindley treated him cruelly if he got what he wanted. From the very beginning he showed great courage, resoluteness, and love. Few have the audacity to be victimized as Heathcliff was by Hindley after Mr. Earnshaw's death and find secret delight in his persecutor sinking into a life of debauchery which will undoubtedly cause his own death. Not only did Heathcliff show his strength through Hindley, but also by following his personal goal of a life with Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff vanishes for three years to win Cathy over with his successes. He chose to fight a battle most would never attempt to begin. Heathcliff, being the survivor that he is, proved himself to be quite a gentleman. Nelly offers her impression when narrating, ""¦he would certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman"¦" 130; ch. 14. Although Heathcliff's personality is so unusually and intensely strong, he does emit qualities rooted in ourselves. His trials and tribulations only develop and exaggerate the darkness and violence inherited in not only Heathcliff, but everyone. However, Heathcliff's wickedness is entirely inappropriate and unusual. Without question he is brutal. The primal and universal darkness in Heathcliff must not be excused. The vicious manner n which he helps to destroy Hindley, kidnaps Cathy and Nelly, and brutalizes Isabella and Hareton, suggests that he is not born with the same primal and universal structure as everyday man, but some other disturbed quality. For example, Isabella in a letter to Ellen wrote, "Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? And if so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?" 121; ch. 13. The antisocial menace now induces pain on his undeserving wife. In just a few chapters the reader identifies with Heathcliff's dark instincts, awes at his inability to feel compassion in certain instances, and becomes intrigued with his passion and undying love for Cathy. Lockwood's first impressions of this gentleman reflect the complex and contrasting images he presents simultaneously when he quotes, "But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much of a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose." 3; ch. 1. Even the conflicting ideas his sheer appearance resonates result in a complexity. Heathcliff initially treats others with contempt and behaves antisocially. Lockwood again offers, ""¦his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling- to manifestations of mutual kindness. He'll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again" 4; ch. 1. Behind all the hidden agendas, natural attributes, and wounds of external circumstances, the love of two kindred spirits prevails. In the end love conquers even a Heathcliff -after his soul has been cleansed with age and wisdom of the hate and distortion with which he has lived for decades. Perhaps the evil that he once acted upon sprung not entirely from a primal root of evil itself, but from the upset of the natural processes of love. The reader leaves the story with the image of a passionate man whose soulful determination to die is startlingly inspiring. His apparent thoughts are of happier, more pure days returning, while staring out into a storm, searching for Catherine. Catherine Earnshaw's iron will, immaturity, and quest for high-profile acceptance cause her character to star in the tragedy of a lost generation. She is both loving and violent, gentle and passionate, affectionate and willful. Her turbulent and aggressive personality rivals only that of Heathcliff. Like Heathcliff, certain traumas experienced feed the fire of their passion, self-interest, and youthfulness. For example, she is the spawn of a man who says that because he cannot understand her, he cannot love her. Meanwhile, she finds the inner core and a profound connection with the stranger who enters her own father's affection and her life so young. While her brother feels dispossessed and threatened by Heathcliff, Cathy sees the 'dirty, gypsy boy' a reflection of her own wild nature. Perhaps Catherine and Heatcliff never leave the self- absorption and recklessness of childhood because they are thwarted in their passion just before they become adolescents. Possibly, they prefer to look upon each other as a childlike mirror image, rather than to progress to the stage of adult-like confidantes. They never appear to feel sexual desire for others, and are prevented in discovering it in each other as well. Possibly, they are emotionally trapped in their natural habitat- absorbing the savage beauty of the countryside while escaping adult mind games and romantic rules and procedures. The great tragedy in the book is when Catherine, in all her elegant refinement, attempts to grow up and marry an established man. With the exception of wealth and position, all is lost in this hasty decision. Catherine and Heathcliff's relations are further thwarted, and upon their long-awaited reunion, fireworks erupt. "With straining eagerness Catherine gazed toward the entrance of her chamber," 140; ch. 15 Nelly recalled. Heathcliff's reaction is not surprisingly similar, ""¦in a stride or two was at her side, and had her grasped in his arms"¦He"¦bestowed more kisses than ever he gave in his life before"¦"140; ch. 15. It is at this point that Cathy and Heathcliff differ the most. Remarkably, Cathy further displays her lack of maturity by attempting to make her beloved feel guilty that she is suffering, although it is caused by her own recklessness. The dramatic and anguished scene is described as, " The two, to a cool spectator, made a strange and fearful picture" 141; ch. 15. Cathy's gift of pain to Heathcliff and Heathcliff's ability to change her rationale in a brief dialogue suggest he is the most loyal lover. She submitted to the pressures of marrying a man for his position as Heathcliff changed his own life to be that man. However wicked Heathcliff becomes, he never betrays his dream and his own private vision of eternal bliss alongside Cathy, while she seeks a worldly success in the marriage of Edgar Linton for its own sake. Although they each acknowledge that they are unavoidably part of one another, solely Heathcliff is willing to face the consequences. Only at the arrival of her death is she willing to surrender to the truth of her love. Catherine and Heathcliff's misfortunes, recklessness, willpower, and destructive passion are unable to penetrate the eternal love they share. However, love is hardly the main theme of the book. It is difficult and possibly wrong to consider Emily Bronte's classic, Wuthering Heights, as a worldly book. As Romantic authors tend to look into man's inner nature, so did Bronte glimpse into the mind of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. What she came up with however, is hardly a social commentary on the human mind. These are two unique characters that must exist only in a certain mysticism not found in Liverpool. The sincerely private relationship of Heathcliff and Catherine make no reference to any social convention or situation. In fact, it is doomed only when Cathy begins to be attracted to the mannerly ways and the social graces of Thrushcross Grange and is led to abandon her true nature. If not social classes, is the privacy of the human experience the theme of the novel? Or is revenge the central and recurring idea? Is Bronte proposing that as humans we have the right to meddle with the cosmic, dark and questioning universe just as Catherine and Heathcliff manipulated with their own lovers and family? Perhaps it is simply a book about characters, each to his own, meandering through puddles, with cloudy morals and mistaken ideals. With a darkness within and beauty without, stumbling back and forth a two-mile stretch of land searching for something they've had all along. Maybe it's a book about reality.   

Murray Kempton once admitted, 'No great scoundrel is ever uninteresting.' The human race continually focuses on characters who intentionally harm others and create damaging situations for their own benefit. Despite popular morals, characters who display an utter disregard for the natural order of human life are characters who are often...

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