What evidence is there in chapter 12 of Great Expectations to suggest that Ms. Havisham was jilted?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is possible to infer that Miss Havisham was jilted through her treatment of Pip and the way she talks and acts towards Estella. This chapter offers little hard proof, but there are a number of details that are extremely interesting in retrospect when the reader is told that Miss...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

It is possible to infer that Miss Havisham was jilted through her treatment of Pip and the way she talks and acts towards Estella. This chapter offers little hard proof, but there are a number of details that are extremely interesting in retrospect when the reader is told that Miss Havisham was jilted. Consider the following reference to Miss Havisham's behaviour towards Estella when she manages to display a number of different moods and emotions that confuses Pip:

...Miss Havisham would embrace her with lavish fondness, murmuring something in her ear that sounded like "Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!"

Miss Havisham's actions are clearly rather intriguing. She congratulates and rewards Estella when she successfully manages to hurt and confuse Pip, and encourages her to do so more. The use of the phrase "their hearts" suggests that she is training Estella to break the hearts of all men, and the fact that Miss Havisham urges her to do so with "no mercy" is something that definitely contributes to the impression that she has been jilted in the past and seeks to gain her revenge in the present through Estella against all men.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team