Philip Pirrip, called Pip, an orphan and the unwanted ward of his harsh sister, Mrs. Joe. Although seemingly destined for a career as a blacksmith, he sees his fortunes improve after he meets a convict hiding in a graveyard. Afterward, through Miss Havisham, he meets Estella, the eccentric old woman’s lovely young ward. Thinking Miss Havisham is his benefactor, he goes to London to become a gentleman. Unfortunately for his peace of mind, he forgets who his true friends are. Finally, after Magwitch, the convict, dies and the Crown confiscates his fortune, Pip understands that good clothes, well-spoken English, and a generous allowance do not make one a gentleman.
Miss Havisham, a lonely, embittered old woman. When her lover jilted her at the altar, she refused ever to leave her gloomy chambers. Instead, she has devoted her life to vengeance. With careful indoctrination, she teaches Estella how to break men’s hearts. Just before her death, she begs Pip to forgive her cruelty.
Estella, Miss Havisham’s ward. Cold, aloof, unfeeling, she tries to warn Pip not to love her, for she is incapable of loving anyone; Miss Havisham has taught her too well. Years later, however, Pip meets her in the garden near the ruins of Satis House, Miss Havisham’s former home. She has lost her cool aloofness and found maturity. Pip realizes that they will never part again.
Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law. Even though he is married to the worst tempered of women, Mrs. Joe, he manages to retain his gentle simplicity and his selfless love for Pip. After he marries Biddy, he finds the domestic bliss that he so richly deserves.
Mrs. Georgiana Maria Gargery
Mrs. Georgiana Maria Gargery, commonly called Mrs. Joe, Pip’s vituperative sister, who berates and misuses him and Joe with impunity. When she verbally assails Joe’s helper, Orlick, she makes a mortal enemy who causes her death with the blow of a hammer. Later he tries to do the same for Pip.
Abel Magwitch, alias Mr. Provis, Pip’s benefactor. When Pip helps him, an escaped convict, Magwitch promises to repay the debt. Transported to New South Wales, he eventually makes a large fortune as a sheep farmer. When he returns illegally to England years later, the escaped felon reveals himself as Pip’s real patron. Casting off his distaste, Pip finds a real affection for the rough old man and attempts to get him safely out of England before the law apprehends him once more. Recaptured, Magwitch dies in prison.
Mr. Jaggers, a criminal lawyer employed by Magwitch to provide for Pip’s future. He is a shrewd man with the ability to size up a person at a glance. To him, personal feelings are unimportant; facts are the only trustworthy things. Although completely unemotional, he deals with Pip and Magwitch honestly throughout their long association.
Herbert Pocket, Miss Havisham’s young relative and Pip’s roommate in London. Almost always cheerful and uncomplaining, he is constantly looking for ways to improve his prospects. With Pip’s aid, he is able to establish himself in a profitable business.
John Wemmick, Mr. Jaggers’ efficient law clerk. Dry and businesslike in the office, he keeps his social and business life completely separate. As a friend, he proves himself completely loyal to Pip.
Biddy, Joe Gargery’s wife after the death of Mrs. Joe. A gentle, loving woman, she is a good wife to him.
Compeyson, a complete villain, the man who jilted Miss Havisham and betrayed Magwitch. He is killed by Magwitch as the two struggle desperately just before the ex-convict is recaptured.
The Aged P
The Aged P, John Wemmick’s deaf old father. In their neat little home, his chief pleasures are reading the newspaper aloud and listening to his son’s nightly firing of a small cannon.
Dolge Orlick, Joe Gargery’s surly helper in the blacksmith shop. After an altercation with Mrs. Joe, he attacks her with a hammer. Later he plots to kill Pip, his hated enemy. Only the timely arrival of Herbert Pocket and Startop prevents the crime.
Molly, Mr. Jaggers’ housekeeper, a woman of strange, silent habits, with extraordinarily strong hands. A murderess, she is also revealed as Magwitch’s former mistress and Estella’s mother.
Matthew Pocket, Miss Havisham’s distant relative and Pip’s tutor during his early years in London. He is also Herbert Pocket’s father.
Mrs. Belinda Pocket
Mrs. Belinda Pocket, a fluttery, helpless woman, the daughter of a knight who had expected his daughter to marry a title.
Fanny Pocket, and
Jane Pocket, other children of the Pockets.
Sarah Pocket, another relative of Miss Havisham, a withered-appearing, sharp-tongued woman.
Uncle Pumblechook, a prosperous corn chandler and Joe Gargery’s relative. During Pip’s childhood, he constantly discusses the boy’s conduct and offers much platitudinous advice.
Clara Barley, a pretty, winning young woman engaged to Herbert Pocket. Magwitch is hidden in the Barley house while Pip is trying to smuggle the former convict out of England.
Old Bill Barley
Old Bill Barley, Clara’s father. A former purser, he is afflicted by gout and bedridden.
Mr. Wopsle, a parish clerk who later becomes an actor under the name of Mr. Waldengarver. Pip and Herbert Pocket go to see his performance as Hamlet.
Bentley Drummle, called The Spider, a sulky rich boy notable for his bad manners. He is Pip’s rival for Estella’s love. After marrying her, he treats her cruelly. Pip meets him while Drummle is being tutored by Mr. Pocket.
Startop, a lively young man tutored by Mr. Pocket.
Mr. Trabb, a village tailor and undertaker.
Trabb’s Boy, a young apprentice whose independence is a source of irritation to Pip.
Mr. John (Raymond) Camilla
Mr. John (Raymond) Camilla, a toady.
Mrs. Camilla, his wife, Mr. Pocket’s sister. She and her husband hope to inherit a share of Miss Havisham’s fortune.
Miss Skiffins, a woman of no certain age but the owner of “portable property,” who marries John Wemmick.
Clarriker, a young shipping broker in whose firm, Clarriker & Company, Pip secretly buys Herbert Pocket a partnership.
Pepper, also called The Avenger, Pip’s servant in the days of his great expectations.