Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Jealousy

By Charles Dickens

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There is a whole lot of romance and a whole lot of money in Our Mutual Friend. Unfortunately, there's only so much of both to go around, so some characters are bound to get jealous of other ones. The green-eyed monster strikes again.

Take Bradley Headstone, for example. This guy is in love with Lizzie Hexam, but he's tortured by the fact that Lizzie likes Eugene Wrayburn more than him. His jealousy gets so bad that he tries to murder Eugene. But Dickens doesn't have much sympathy for people who give into jealousy. If you're a jealous Dickens character, chances are pretty dang good that you'll meet with a sticky—and untimely—end.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. How does Eugene's behavior toward Bradley Headstone increase the man's jealousy? Does Eugene realize how dangerous his mocking is?
  2. How does Silas Wegg react when Mr. Boffin hires Mr. Rokesmith as a secretary? Is his reaction justified? Why or why not?
  3. What sends Bradley Headstone over the edge when he decides to murder Eugene? Does Headstone ever show remorse for what he's done?

Chew on This

In Our Mutual Friend, we find that jealousy is really just the angry flipside of pride.

In Our Mutual Friend, Dickens shows us that jealousy can be a healthy emotion if it's coming from a good place.

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