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Choose one of the characters below and consider their 'morals' as demonstrated by their behaviour. Consider each character’s background and the reasons for their behaviour in different circumstances.

Bentley Drummle
Mrs Joe
Miss Havisham


  • Which do you think is the most morally 'dubious'?
  • Which do you find the most sympathetic?
  • Which of the characters in the film version do you find most sympathetic? Can you explain what aspects of the actors' performance encourages you to have sympathy for them?
  • Do you think any of the characters in the novel is entirely 'good'?

Best behaviour?

When Pip begins his visits to Miss Havisham, it changes his perception of himself and of his position in society. Through observing the differences between life with Joe at the forge, and life at Miss Havisham’s Pip understands that he is of a lower social standing than Miss Havisham and Estella. When he comes into his fortune, he is quick to turn his back on his old life and is ashamed of his old connections.

Focus on the film

Discuss the differences between the scene where Pip is taught table manners by Herbert Pocket when he first arrives in London and the scene where Joe visits Pip in London and they eat together. How do the filmmakers present the characters in the two scenes, and in what ways do you react to them at these moments?