What is surprising about the attitude of the two convicts (Magwitch and Compeyson) towards one another in Great Expectations?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the past, Magwitch and Compeyson had been partners in the thieving business. Compeyson had been planning to swindle Miss Havisham out of her money by marrying her and then leaving her (with her money). When they were both captured, they turned on each other, informing the police of the other’s criminal intentions. Though they had been imprisoned together on the prison ship, they let their hated of each other grow. When they escaped, instead of aiding each other, they fought in the ditch. This allowed the soldiers (accompanied by Joe and Pip) to come on them and re-arrest both of them. They kept this hatred going for years. When Magwitch returned to England as Provis, Compeyson tracked him down. It was he who informed the police of Magwitch’s return. Magwitch was arrested and imprisoned, where he died. Compeyson died as he and Magwitch fell off the ship. 

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Great Expectations

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