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Characters

Mr. Copperfield

Character Analysis

We never actually meet Mr. Copperfield in the flesh (since he dies before David is even born), but we do get some hints as to his character. It turns out that Mr. Copperfield had a falling out with his aunt, Miss Betsey Trotwood, because she did not approve of his marriage to the doll-like, childish Mrs. Copperfield. And indeed, it seems that Miss Betsey is right – Mrs. Copperfield is not capable of managing a family, much to her son's misfortune.

But this kind of poor judgment seems to have been a regular part of Mr. Copperfield's character. As a small illustration, in the first chapter, we find out that Mr. Copperfield bought their house thinking that there would be rooks there. (Rooks are big, black birds – kind of like crows – native to England.) He was so sure that there would be rooks at this house that he calls it the Rookery. But they have never seen so much as a rook feather near their house.

When Miss Betsey hears the story of the rooks, she exclaims that it is "David Copperfield [Sr.] all over!" (1.35) to buy a house expecting birds on faith, without ever checking. The point of this story is that Mr. Copperfield must have been a trusting, good-hearted individual, but he made bad choices because he was not practical. We can't help but notice that his trusting, foolish nature foreshadows some of his son's troubles with his first wife, Dora Spenlow.

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