Miss Havisham Analysis

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Great Expectations has been one of Dickens’s novels with most adaptations, being on cinema or television. This novel presents one of the most cinematographic characters, Miss Havisham, who is eccentric in both her appearance and behaviour. An event from her past traumatised her and makes her a unique complex character. Adapting Miss Havisham to the screen is therefore very interesting, as well as complicated. In this essay, three interpretations of Miss Havisham will be taken into account, David Lean’s with Martita Hunt, BBC’s mini series with Gillian Anderson and Mike Newell’s with Helena Bonham Carter. These three interpretations are all different and they contribute to different aspects of this character. However, they all lack some characteristics…show more content…
Martita Hunt stands out as a result of the cinematographic elements associated with her. She is usually sat when she appears on screen, and in numerous scenes she is not facing the camera, or only a part of her face is visible, which makes her a mysterious figure. When her face is visible, she stands out by the use of back light showing her as the central point of the shot. Miss Havisham is then shown as one of the central characters of the film. As already mentioned, one of the best attributes of Helena Bonham Carter’s performance is the humanisation of Miss Havisham represented through her acting. She shows different emotions of Miss Havisham, therefore contrasting with other performances that only show a deathly serious character. Thus it is possible for the spectator to understand the complexity of her character, and not seen her only as a mad evil ‘creature’. The scene with little Estella at two coming to Satis House emphasises even more that aspect in Miss Havisham, and plays a key role in this film. Gillian Anderson’s performance can be considered particularly original because she gives Miss Havisham a child-like aspect, with a little girl’s voice. This is perhaps at first unlike what one would imagine, but quickly becomes believable, specially because she was left by Compeyson at a quite young age and therefore she maintained her childish personality, also seen in her will to punish people so she is not the only person suffering. This new feature also helps the spectator pity Miss

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