Miss Havisham is a creepy figure. I need to stop imagining what she looks like because that will make the hairs in my arms get goosebumps. To give you an illustration, she wears a white wedding dress throughout Great Expectations which means for years because Pip is a boy as the book starts and he turns 30-something when the story concludes. She never leaves Satis House, a ruined mansion where she lives with her adopted daughter Estella, for many years. She lets the clock in her room unchanged. She stands still in a world that keeps moving.
Miss Havisham quickly reminds me of Quilp, the main antagonist in The Old Curiosity Shop, another Dickens’ novel. They are of course different characters, Quilp is a very wicked, disgusting fiction figure I have ever met with. While miss Havisham isn’t a cruel one but the two reflects Dickens’ totality in creating very peculiar, distinguishable figures in literature.
As I read along the novel, miss Havisham is abundantly buried in her failed planned marriage. As far as “love is blind” saying is concerned, miss Havisham is about to get married to Compeyson, whom she really, really loves long, long time before she knows Pip, the protagonist in Great Expectations. To he sadness, Compeyson abandons her. He is only interested at her fortune.
Devastated and humiliated, miss Havisham suffers from mental breakdown and “imprisons” herself in the house. Worse, she even asks for mister Jaggers finding her an adopted daughter whom miss Havisham can look after and gradually turn her as a player.
Miss Havisham’s dream comes true as Estella plays with many men’ hearts, including Pip’s. Despite her knowing over Pip’s sincere feeling for Estella, miss Havisham instead asks for her marrying other man. At the end, neither Estella nor miss Havisham are happy.
As a reader, I can’t think of anyone can be that depressed as miss Havisham. She is so captured in the past that she takes revenge through Estella. As impossible as her trait can be, Dickens, here, digs his deepest on human emotion when it comes to love, excessive love, that may turn into severe heartbrokenness. And miss Havisham is such most suitable portrait we can get precious lessons from.
From the beginning, Dickens puts many clues on her collapse. The way she dresses, the ruined mansion that she lives in, her choice of not ever leaving the house after she fails to get married.
I remember one of the scenes where which she explicitly tells Estella not to take into account Pip’s feeling. For miss Havisham, love is like a dead-end matter, that everyone should never ever taste sweet, valuable taste of it. She can only regret her action of persuading Estella marrying Bentley Drummle although she knows him a brutal person.
As the novel comes to an end, miss Havisham asks for Pip’s forgiveness that comes out too late because Estella now becomes Drummle’s wife. Miss Havisham burns herself but Pip saves her. She lives the rest of her life in sickness because of that.
Miss Havisham reminds me so much on dangerous illogical love to others. She is actually warned over Compeyson’s ill motives but she ignores it. She pays all the price in most unthinkable ways I can possibly comprehend. I hope each of us won’t be like her in love-related matter or others.