Estella is cruel but she also suffers. How do you judge her in Great Expectations?

Essay by shiv_rulz May 2004

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Estella lived in Satis house as a child with Miss Havisham, who is her adopted mother. While living in Satis house she didn't have any child friends, apart from the ones she would mock and use. This has mentally scarred her, as she is trapped in Satis house and now she has missed out on a childhood. Instead of having a childhood she has had to compete with the Pockets and the their scheming against her to gain miss Havisham's money. So this toughened Estella up, as she had to be cruel to survive, against everyone.

All this competing made Estella have an abnormal childhood, which resulted in a mentally abusive childhood, which led her to punish herself and marry a physically abusive man - Bentley Drummle she didn't want to marry a nice man as she would never be able to love him as she is mentally scarred from miss Havisham, and she realises her mistakes, so she deserves better than him.

'now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be, '

This quote shows us that Estella understands her faults, and she also understand what she did wrong to pip, also what he felt as she has now felt that too.

Also marrying Drummle will stop her current life and ways that Miss Havisham is leading her through. Marrying him was her own choice and it's good that she is doing this as it prevents Pip from having his heart broken, but Pip thinks that this is the worst thing that could happen, he doesn't see her good ways.

Throughout the story towards the end she realises her evil ways and how miss Havisham has manipulate her to fulfil her revenge on men.

'Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy! '

This shows how Estella I being heavily influenced by the bitterness of miss Havisham towards men. She has been brought up to be used as a weapon against men.

Her tragic life when, she was a little child and she was abandoned by her parents, and then adopted by miss Havisham, so she was rejected. This leaves her with no identity; Miss Havisham rules her and she is not allowed to be herself, and towards the end she has become miss Havisham's creation having no feelings of her own.

'Estella has few emotions and is like a statue'

This quote shows how miss Havisham has changed her and her way of thinking.

Estella's cruelty comes from her suffering, and now after being under miss Havisham's power for so long she is incapable of emotions and is damaged, but she doesn't like being this way.

Miss Havisham has created her into a snob; she trained her to use her beauty, money and power as an air of inaccessibility,

'She treated me as a boy still, but she lured me on.'

This quote shows, how she didn't want to love Pip but she still played with his feelings and acted like she wanted to, just to torture him. Estella is happy that she is able to make Pip cry and feel ignorant and resent his simple upbringing. Pip is captivated by Estella's beauty but does not know how to handle the cruelty she shows him.

This shows that so she saw herself above Pip, and hurt him, it also made him miserable and ended up having a dramatic turn on his identity and his life. Pip ends up saying

'I was haunted by the fear that she would, sooner or later find me out,'

This quote shows the powerful effects Estella is having upon Pip and his feelings, and that he has the unnecessary problem of being found out. They are so powerful that he has become ashamed of his own home.

'It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home.'

Her playing with Pip's feelings, mentally scarred him, he kept reflecting on one comments she made to him;

'And what coarse hands he has. And what thick boots! '

This quote made Pip conscious of his own inferiority. He mentions this throughout the book, so it shows it stuck with him.

'I slipped hopelessly into that course and common boy again.'

At the end of the book Estella learns her lesson and turns humble. And she has become a widow after Bentley Drummle died. And also miss Havisham died so she has been left with satis house, which she demolishes, and meets Pip there, there maybe some hope for them, in that they may get together.

So her suffering has been rewarded with everything piecing back together.