Study Guide

Arthur Havisham in Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens

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Arthur Havisham

Arthur is Miss Havisham's rebellious, ungrateful half brother who plots against her and swindles her. He's the son of Miss Havisham's father and the family cook. Mr. Havisham, Sr., left him plenty of dough when he died, but Arthur was greedy for more and hated how Mr. Havisham favored Miss Havisham. He was in cahoots with Compeyson and helped carry out the plot to ruin Miss Havisham. He dies poor and alone in Compeyson's house, and, on his deathbed, he sees the ghost of a lady in white trying to smother him with a shroud.

Is Dickens talking smack about cooks by making Arthur Havisham such a bad egg? Or is it just a sad fact that every family has a few members we'd rather not be related to?

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