What does it mean on Fagin's line during his execution "Press on! Press on! Press on!" What are the emotions embedded? Does Oliver affected on this line Is this a sign of guilty or fear?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


"Press on" is an attempt for Fagin to maintain control.  There is nothing Fagin can do to stop the execution.  All he can do is go along with it, and in this case that means posturing and blundering. 

Fagin is a man who always has to be in control.  Of course he is guilty of many things, and he knows it.  Like his colleagues, he always knew he would be caught someday.  Once he is caught and sentenced to death, he sees no way of avoiding it.  He needs to maintain his dignity by posturing.  Is he afraid to die?  To a certain extent.  He also accepts it.  As for admitting guilt, he knows that he is guilty and everyone else, including Oliver, knows it too.  Oliver did not know who Fagin was at first, but he certainly does not see him as a kind benefactor even if he does not blame him.  Since Oliver has to remain innocent and good, he cannot blame or harbor resentment.  He needs to remain pure of such emotions.

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Oliver Twist

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