To compare and contrast Pip and Estella in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, one must look at how Dickens portrays their external circumstances as well as how he portrays their emotions.
Estella is portrayed as embodying external beauty and how aspirations towards the manners and morals of the English upper classes can warp character. Miss Havisham, in response to her own mistreatment by men has brought Estella up to distrust and both use and abuse men.Estella is aware of her own emotional emptiness; she says of herself:
I have not bestowed my tenderness anywhere. I have never had any such thing." (2.29.75)
Pip is the protagonist of this novel, and the most sympathetic character. Although he is by nature empathetic and kind, his association with Estella and Miss Havisham temporarily warps his character, leading him to sacrifice his better nature on the altar of the British class system, but as he matures towards the end of the novel, and discovers his true parentage, he transcends the narrow and status conscious world of Miss Havisham.