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Give examples for biblical allusions presented by Dickens in Great Expectations.

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mizradane | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:45 AM via web

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Give examples for biblical allusions presented by Dickens in Great Expectations.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:29 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many Biblical allusions in Great Expectations.  First of all, there is Abel Magwitch.  He was betrayed by his partner, Compeyson, just as Abel was betrayed by Cain in the Bible.  In the Bible, Cain kills Abel.  By naming Magwitch Abel, it creates a reference back to this betrayal.

There is another Biblical allusion to the story of Adam an Even through a reference to Milton’s Biblical poem “Paradise Lost” from book XII.

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way. (enotes etext p. 189)

This is a sign to the reader that Pip is leaving paradise, not entering it.  This is contradictory to Pip’s view of his expectations, and most likely the reader’s as well.  It is foreshadowing that things might not turn out as he expects.

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