Moral Ambiguity In Charles Dickens Great Expectations

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Picture this: a woman is getting arrested for shoplifting at the local Giant. As the cops take her away, a cluster of onlookers begins to form. Sure, they don’t know the story, but one thing for certain is that she really wanted that milk. She knows the story, however: that her husband just left her, leaving two kids and herself without a source of money. The conflict is that she shoplifted, so she committed a crime. According to local law enforcement, the woman should be punished, although understanding her hardship may make a judge deem otherwise. In many situations, one will find that there isn’t always an extreme left or right leaving the correct path as ambiguous. In Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations moral ambiguity is expressed through his characters. The main character Pip and his expectations leave him hoping for a better life and craving a higher social class, which causes his actions to fluctuate between helping people and taking his frustrations out on others. In addition, Miss Havisham, a woman with a broken heart tries to save her adopted daughter Estella from receiving a broken heart. Through her attempts she replaces her daughter’s heart with ice and breaks young men’s hearts. In Dickens’ bildungsroman Great Expectations, Pip and Miss Havisham’s morally ambiguous characterization helps develop the theme, that one needs to learn to be resilient.
The internal struggles that Pip experiences through the novel, reveal his displeasure to his settings and

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