Abel Magwitch - “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Abel Magwitch - “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

Type of Character

Throughout the course of the book, Abel Magwitch, a vibrant character, experiences considerable transformations. He is presented as a frightening prisoner at first, but with time, Pip comes to see his true generosity and compassion.

Part in the Narrative

Pip receives covert financial support from Magwitch to further his schooling and fulfill his gentlemanly dreams. He is crucial in forming Pip's identity and dispelling his stereotypes of money and social status.


Although the beginnings of Magwitch are unknown, what is known about his past indicates that he was subjected to forced labor, injustice, and extreme poverty. His time spent behind bars molds his perspective on life and fuels his determination to save Pip from a similar ending.

Characteristics of the Mind

Even though he has an imposing demeanor at first, Magwitch has a complex nature that is equal parts ruthless and generous. He is steadfastly devoted to Pip and exhibits tremendous loyalty to people he loves. But he is also damaged and mistrustful of people because of his past traumas and experiences as a prisoner.

Reasons and Objectives

Making sure Pip has the chances and education he never had is Magwitch's main driving force. He wants to provide Pip a better life than his own since he sees Pip as a surrogate son. He also wants Pip to embrace and forgive him, trying to make sense of his previous deeds and his recent quest for atonement.

Tension and Difficulties

Magwitch's biggest struggle is trying to make sense of his past wrongdoings and his desire to change for the better. He is troubled by feelings of shame and guilt and is troubled by flashbacks to his actions. In addition, his status as a prisoner exposes him to prejudice and rejection from society, which makes it challenging for him to reach his objectives of respectability and redemption.


The most important relationship in the book is that between Pip and Magwitch. From early mistrust and terror, it develops into a strong bond and sense of gratitude. Pip's moral compass is shaped and his presumptions about class and social mobility are challenged by Magwitch's unflinching support and counsel.

Significance and Types

The archetype of the hidden benefactor—a shadowy person who offers assistance and direction when needed—is embodied by Magwitch. In addition, he represents the ability of love and compassion to transform, showing that even people with difficult pasts are capable of finding forgiveness and reconciliation.

Persona Arc

Magwitch's journey through life is characterized by change and development. Though initially portrayed as a seasoned crook, he eventually shows Pip his true nature and acts as a father figure in a substitute capacity. He seeks atonement for his previous transgressions and makes a beneficial impact on Pip's life as a result of his experiences with loss, guilt, and redemption.

Words and Conversation

Magwitch's working-class upbringing and his experiences as a prisoner are reflected in his speech habits. Although his tone is frequently blunt and rude, there are nevertheless occasional instances of sincerity and eloquence. His speech makes clear how much he cares for Pip and how much he wants to atone for his previous transgressions.

Historical and Cultural Background

The story takes place in 19th-century England, and Magwitch's persona represents both the social shame attached to having a criminal record and the hard reality of convict life. His narrative sheds light on the difficulties encountered by those looking for social acceptability and atonement following a life of criminal activity.

Critical Angles

For a long time, literary experts have argued over Magwitch's importance and position in "Great Expectations." Some highlight his criminal history and the moral ambiguity he represents, while others see him as a multifaceted and sympathetic figure. Whatever one's view, Magwitch is still a pivotal and provocative figure in the book.

In summary

According to Abel Magwitch's character analysis, he is a complicated, multifaceted person who experiences a major metamorphosis throughout "Great Expectations." His transformation from a prisoner to a charitable donor casts doubt on conventional ideas about atonement and the value of interpersonal relationships. Magwitch's influence on Pip's life and the ethical issues he brings up regarding justice, class, and the potential for personal growth are what make him so memorable.