Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 31

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 31

  • Pip and Herbert go to the theater! Mr. Wopsle is playing Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet, a play about a Danish prince who has a serious identity crisis after his mother marries his dead dad's murderer. Check it out.
  • We would give anything to see this production. The actor who plays the ghost of Hamlet's dead father has a really bad cough, and he also can't remember his lines to save his life. He has to carry his script with him wherever he goes.
  • Hamlet's mother looks like a punk rocker wearing head gear, because her chin is attached to a tiara on her head by a chain.
  • Ophelia is so annoying that people cheer when she begins to do herself in.
  • Mr. Wopsle is grossed out by the skeleton he has to touch.
  • And the audience is replying to EVERYTHING the actors say. When Hamlet asks, "To be, or not to be," the audience shouts their opinions. It's basically a round table discussion.
  • Overall, it's pretty much the best play ever.
  • Pip and Herbert try to give Mr. Wopsle a standing ovation, but they stop when they realize that it's a lost cause. They spend most of the play trying to stifle their laughter.
  • The boys attempt to sneak out before Mr. Wopsle sees them, but a man corners them before they can escape and takes them to Mr. Wopsle's dressing room.
  • There Mr. Wopsle (who goes by Mr. Waldengarver now) is having his stockings pulled off of him. It's a big deal. He asks the boys what they thought of the production, and Herbert automatically responds, "Capitally!" (31.21) and Pip, speechless, mimics Herbert's reply. The boys are about to bust up laughing, but they manage to compliment Mr. Wopsle.
  • They invite Mr. Wopsle to dinner, and the man stays until 2 am talking about his road to stardom. Pip goes to bed miserable, thinking about Estella (as usual), and he has some seriously twisted dreams that night.
  • He dreams he proposes to Clara, that he plays the role of Hamlet in front of 20,000 people, and that he forgets his lines. Oh, and Miss Havisham takes the form of Hamlet's mother.

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