The Parallels of Pip and Magwitch

What stood out to me the most in these last chapters of Great Expectations was the similarities, as well as the differences, between Pip and Magwitch. As we come to learn in chapter 42, Magwitch was an orphan just as Pip had been. However, Magwitch did not have other family he could rely on, and instead had to resort to crime to support himself. The two also share the experience of being somewhat exploited by wealthy individuals who manipulate them. Pip has Miss Havisham, who taunts him with Estella and allows him to believe that she is the source of his wealth. Meanwhile, Magwitch had Compeyson, who ends up getting him arrested through his schemes. The experiences they have with their respective exploiters, however, has different impacts on the two. Miss Havisham’s abuse causes Pip to want to “better” himself and become a gentleman. Magwitch, on the other hand, becomes bitter, and almost vengeful. And understandably so.

Yet another similarity between the two is their lost or unattainable love. Pip is in love with Estella, but in these chapters, she officially rejects him and instead marries Drummle. While talking about his past, Magwitch briefly brings up a girl before quickly brushing it off. This leads the reader to believe that he has lost someone he loves as well. The commonalities continue a bit later in the story as each of the men’s enemies come into more prominence, but I’ll avoid that for now to remain spoiler-free. Overall, I think it is interesting to see how close the two backstories are, and to realize how simply each of them could have gone down opposite paths.

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