What's a good quote from or to Fagin in Oliver Twist that shows how greedy he is?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Here's a good one:

 " 'When the boy is worth a hundred pounds to me, am I to lose what chance threw me in the way of getting safely, through the whims of a drunken gang that I could whistle away the lives of! And me bound, too, to a born devil, that only wants the will and has the power'".

This statement by Fagin is directed to Nancy and shows the depth of his greed and exploitation of the people around him.  Pg. 201-202


estoverl's profile pic

estoverl | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

In Oliver Twist, Fagin is described as a bad guy all around. Dickens' characterization of him is stereotypical and does make some readers uncomfortable because of the prejudiced tone. In the story, Fagin's character is responsible for training Oliver to be a thief. 

One quote that supports the fact that Fagin is full of greed is the following:

‘If you do it well, a pound, my dear. One pound,’ said Fagin, wishing to interest him in the scent as much as possible. ‘And that’s what I never gave yet, for any job of work where there wasn’t valuable consideration to be gained.’

In this quote, Fagin reassures someone regarding the amount of money he/she will be given once a job is done. Note that Fagin states he has never given even a pound (about $2.00) away before and that he had not even considered giving in the past unless he was to get something in return. 


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