In Chapter 56 of "Great Expectations", describe the sentencing of the prisoners.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A full day is allowed for the sentencing of prisoners, with the sentence of death administered last.  Magwitch is among a group of thirty-two men and women who are to receive that ultimate sentence together.  The condemned thirty-two are confined in a dock facing the judge as a crowd of people, like "a large theatrical audience", look on from the gallery.  Magwitch himself is in the front of the dock, the only prisoner seated because of his infirmity.

Magwitch is among "the wretched creatures" singled out by the judge "for special address".  The judge outlines Magwitch's long life of crime, and tells him that "he must prepare himself to die".  Magwitch accepts his sentence, telling the judge respectfully, "I have received my sentence of death from the Almighty, but I bow to yours".  When the judge has finished with what he has to say to the rest and condemned each of the prisoners their doom, the group files out, some needing to be supported, some sauntering out on their own.  Magwitch is the last to leave because he must be helped from his chair and can only move very slowly.  While the others make their way out, Magwitch and Pip wait hand in hand, enduring the whispers and stares from the crowd (Chapter 56). 

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Great Expectations

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