Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Moral Lesson of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”

Comment on the moral lesson of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Moral Lesson of Great Expectations

Moral Lesson of Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations” is a masterpiece that has remained relevant to this day due to its themes, characters, and plot. The novel is rich in moral lessons that can be applied to everyday life. It teaches us about the consequences of ambition, the dangers of social climbing, the importance of honesty, the power of forgiveness, and the true meaning of love and friendship. In this essay, I will discuss the moral lessons of “Great Expectations” and how they can be applied in modern society.

The novel’s central character, Pip, is driven by ambition and the desire to rise above his humble origins. He is given the opportunity to achieve his dream when he becomes the recipient of a mysterious fortune. However, Pip’s ambition comes at a cost. He is forced to abandon those who have loved and supported him, and he becomes estranged from his past. Pip realizes too late that his obsession with wealth and status has blinded him to the true value of human relationships. The novel teaches us that ambition, when not tempered with empathy and humility, can lead to disastrous consequences.

Another important moral lesson of “Great Expectations” is the dangers of social climbing. Throughout the novel, we see characters who are obsessed with social status and are willing to go to great lengths to achieve it. Miss Havisham, for example, is determined to use Estella to exact revenge on men. She is a victim of the social hierarchy, trapped by the expectations of her class and gender. Her obsession with appearances and status has led her to a life of bitterness and isolation. Similarly, Estella is aloof and disdainful of Pip and treats him with contempt. Estella has been raised by Miss Havisham to be a weapon against men, and she uses her beauty and charm to manipulate Pip and others. The novel teaches us that social climbing, when not tempered with moral values, can lead to a life of isolation and unhappiness.

Honesty is another moral lesson that is emphasized throughout the novel. Pip’s dishonesty leads to his downfall, and he is forced to confront the consequences of his actions. He learns that honesty is the foundation of any successful relationship and that without it, trust and respect cannot exist. Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law, serves as a model of honesty throughout the novel. Despite his simple ways and lack of education, Joe is a man of integrity who is loved and respected by all who know him. The novel teaches us that honesty, although difficult at times, is essential for healthy relationships.

The novel also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. Pip’s treatment of Joe and Biddy is one of the most regrettable aspects of the novel. He becomes so obsessed with wealth and status that he forgets the people who have always been there for him. However, Pip eventually realizes the error of his ways and seeks forgiveness from those he has wronged. Joe, in particular, serves as a model of forgiveness, and his acceptance of Pip’s apology is one of the most moving scenes in the novel. The novel teaches us that forgiveness is an essential component of any healthy relationship and that without it, resentment and bitterness can fester and destroy even the strongest bonds.

Finally, “Great Expectations” teaches us about the true meaning of love and friendship. Throughout the novel, Pip is motivated by his desire to be loved and accepted. However, he comes to realize that true love and friendship are not based on wealth, status, or appearance. Joe and Biddy, for example, love Pip unconditionally and accept him for who he is, not for what he can offer them. The novel teaches us that true love and friendship are based on empathy, compassion, and understanding and that they are essential for a fulfilling life.

In conclusion, Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” is not only a story of the human condition, but also a lesson on the dangers of pride, ambition, and the corrupting influence of money. Through Pip’s journey, the novel explores the themes of identity, love, and social class, while warning against the pitfalls of aspiring to be something we are not. It is a timeless work that continues to resonate with readers today, and its moral lesson remains as relevant as ever: true happiness comes from being content with who we are, rather than from the pursuit of wealth or social status. Ultimately, the novel reminds us that it is our character and relationships that define us, not our material possessions or social position.


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Written by Koushik Kumar Kundu

Koushik Kumar Kundu was among the toppers when he completed his Masters from Vidyasagar University after completing his Bachelors degree with Honours in English Literature from The University of Burdwan. He also completed B.Ed from the University of Burdwan.


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