Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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Describe Bentley Drummle. What nickname does Mr. Jaggers give him?

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annekld eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, one of the major antagonists is Bentley Drummle. He is described as incredibly rude, despite the fact that he a gentleman in terms of social class. His is wealthy and willing to use every means at his disposal, no matter how cruel, to get what he desires and is usually successful in this despite being described as not especially smart.

He earns the nickname "The Spider" from Mr. Jaggers for both his cruelty and successful machinations. The validity of this nickname is best shown by Drummle's dealings with Estella. His goal was to marry her in the hopes of acquiring her money. Although he knew that Pip loved her, Drummle pursued Estella and mocked Pip when Estella favored Drummle. After he caught Estella and married her, he treated her cruelly. In this case, he was only partially successful as he died before Estella and never attained his ultimate goal - her inheritance. 

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janeyb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jaggers refers to Drummle as spider, apparently refering to his ability to get what he wants (getting the flies) even if he does so using his ruthless nature. Drummle is lazy, but he is ruthless, he'll stop at nothing to get what he wants, no matter who is in the way. He is rude to those around him as well. He ends up marrying Estella for her fortune (although he didn't outlive her)

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