Analyse in some detail Vol. II Ch. XII of Great Expectations.
Pay attention to Dickens’ comic methods (i.e. what makes the “Denmark” episode so amusing?), and suggest how, despite its apparent irrelevance, this chapter can be linked to the principal themes of the novel. In particular, show how this Hamlet chapter grows out of Mr Wopsle’s earlier appearances and behaviour.
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is a novel characteristic of Victorian, and of realist literature. Although the narrative is largely symbolic rather than realistic, Dickens employs rich comic elements in both the plot and in the characters that are presented to us, specifically Pip as he exhibits a kind of humour-in-adversity throughout his adventures. The comic-ironic narrative which Dickens creates manifests itself in the ironic undertones of the text; often using dramatic irony, as well as in the characters, their adventures, and development throughout the novel. This essay will attempt to analyse Volume II, Chapter XII of Great Expectations, by firstly placing the scene into context, how Dickens’ comic methods are used in the chapter specifically, and lastly, how this chapter can be linked to the principal themes of the novel. This essay will also comment on, and analyse the way in which Mr Wopsle’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s Hamlet grows out of his earlier appearances and behaviour.
In Great Expectations’ Vol. II, Ch. XII, the reader experiences Pip and Herbert’s visit to see Mr Wopsle playing Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play turns out to be a disaster – the infamous ghost of Hamlet’s dead father has a bad cough and cannot remember his lines; he has to carry his script with him around on stage. The validity of the characters in the play is threatened, and ultimately, the audience heckles and boos throughout. Much to Pip and Herbert’s amusement, they try to sneak out before Mr Wopsle sees them, but they fail and are...