The Gargery Household.
As a boy, Pip, the protagonist and narrator of Great Expectations, lives with Joe Gargery and his wife, referred to as ‘Mrs. Joe‘. Mrs. Joe is Pip’s much older and abusive sister who has taken him in after the death of their parents. The three live in a Kent village forge, where Joe, a blacksmith, can carry out his trade. They are frequently visited by Mrs. Joe’s pompous relation, the local seed merchant Uncle Pumblechook. Later in the story, Biddy comes to live at the forge to help care for Mrs. Joe.
- Joe Gargery
- Mrs. Joe
- Uncle Pumblechook
A former brewery and decaying mansion, Satis House is home to the eccentric, rich and elderly Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella. Havisham is visited by distant family members hanging on in the hope of sharing her fortune and local boys, whom she pays to visit and amuse her.
- Miss Havisham
A fearsome criminal, Magwitch escapes from a prison ship at the beginning of Great Expectations and terrorizes Pip in the grounds of a churchyard. However, Pip’s subsequent kindness to him makes a deep impression.
A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared, and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin.
Pip describes Abel Magwitch after being startled by him in the churchyard at the beginning of Great Expectations.
A lawyer based in Little Britain, near the Smithfield area of London. He is served by his assistant, Mr. Wemmick and a housekeeper, Molly.
He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark complexion, with an exceedingly large head, and a corresponding large hand.
Pip describes Jaggers upon his first encounter, on the stairs of Satis House, whilst both are visiting Miss Havisham.
Jaggers is a lawyer to Miss Havisham, where Pip first encounters him on a visit to Satis House as a boy. Later in the story, Jaggers will visit Pip and Joe Gargery at the Forge to deliver the good news that he is to become a gentleman. Jaggers becomes Pip’s guardian whilst he is in London, responsible for managing the affairs of Pip’s mysterious benefactor. As a lawyer, Jaggers is very successful and economical with his words at times.
Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.
Jaggers is careful with his words, in this case so as not to incriminate his client, Abel Magwitch.
Jaggers lives in a rather plain house in Gerrard Street, Soho (which pip describes following a visit for dinner in Chapter 26).
Mr. John Wemmick.
Wemmick is Mr Jaggers’s clerk and becomes a friend to Pip after he moves to London. Pip describes Wemmick as “a dry man, rather short in stature, with a square wooden face, whose expression seemed to have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel“.
Wemmick owns a house in Walworth which is modelled as a castle, complete with a drawbridge, cannon and moat. Wemmick appears to have a split personality. In the employ of Jaggers he adopts an uncaring attitude towards clients whilst in private he is more joyous, particularly around his fiancé, Miss Skiffins. During a visit to the office of Jaggers, Pip notes his that his personality “was as dry and distant to me as if there were twin Wemmicks, and this was the wrong one” (Chapter 48).
The clerk had the same air of knowing something to everybody else’s disadvantage.
Description of Wemmick.
John Wemmick is Mr. Jaggers’ secretive chief clerk, who becomes a friend to Pip after he moves to London. Pip describes Wemmick as ‘a dry man, rather short in stature, with a square wooden face, whose expression seemed to have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel‘. Wemmick appears to have a split personality. In the employ of Jaggers, he adopts an uncaring attitude towards clients whilst in private he is more joyous, particularly around his fiancé, Miss Skiffins, who he marries. Wemmick owns a house in Walworth which is modelled as a castle, complete with a drawbridge, cannon, and moat. During a visit to the office of Jaggers, Pip notes that his personality ‘was as dry and distant to me as if there were twin Wemmicks, and this was the wrong one‘ (Chapter 48).
Mr. Jagger’s housekeeper. She works for the lawyer Mr. Jaggers after he managed to get her off from a murder charge. It later emerges that she is the mother of Estella. Wemmick describes Molly as “a wild beast tamed” whilst Pip compares her face to something from the witches cauldron in Macbeth.
Mr. Herbert Pocket.
The character of Herbert Pocket first appears as a boy who challenges Pip to a fight in the garden of Satis House, whilst Pip is visiting Miss Havisham. Later in Great Expectations, Pip moves to London under the guardianship of Mr. Jaggers and lives with Pocket at chambers in Barnards Inn. In London, Pocket helps to give Pip lessons in being a gentleman.
Mr. Bentley Drummle.
Bentley Drummle is a rich cad who pursues and eventually marries Estella, to Pip’s great anguish. An abusive husband he is later killed whilst mistreating a horse, leaving the widowed Estella free to rekindle her friendship with Pip.