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Subject Uriah Heep's red hair - significant?

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Publication 267 By Red on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 at 23:21   
Location: United States   Registered: Wednesday, March 13, 2002  Posts: 1    Search for other posts by Red Search   Quote
There are several pasages where Uriah Heep's hair is described as red, and the descriptions seem to carry a negative connotation. Why?

Publication 284 By Dr.Strong on Sunday, March 31, 2002 at 14:51   
Location: El Salvador   Registered: Sunday, March 31, 2002  Posts: 3    Search for other posts by Dr.Strong Search   Quote
Well it comes to pass that a strange question passess before me now and again, on that well remembered time in which I existed merely as a fragmentary passing in a gentlemans creation. It would seem initially obvious that the red colour like much of dickens expression in this novel is used to create the vividness of his characters. It must be remembered that mere text is merely a stimulus to the imagination, and as it is there a strong tradition of association between the colour red and the character of Uria Heep. Dickens uses a mastery of tones, colours and natural settings to convey the mood and atmosphere of his charcters and their environment at the time frequently influences the emotional world in which they reside. Uriahs red hair, at without meaning to offend anyone, then simply is a further expansion upon this. Red is bold, the colour of livid evil in human form, dashing, anger and resentful. But the colour alone of course is merely a support to the various situations that give depth and colour to the sceanario that dickens is playing out. Unless you have being very much misguided in reading this book you will of come to the realisation as you put it above that Heep was very much indeed a character of negative influence - a character also used to pluff Copperfield and societys feathers of what was good and honoury at the time.

Publication 903 By Dr. Strangelove on Monday, October 2, 2006 at 23:41   
Location: Unavailable   Registered: Monday, October 2, 2006  Posts: 1    Search for other posts by Dr. Strangelove Search   Quote
I wonder, how many times does someone need to read David Copperfield in order to even remember that Uria's hair is red? I kept projecting throughout the book.

/Dr. S

Publication 906 By a humble critic on Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 18:40   
Location: New Zealand   Registered: Saturday, September 16, 2006  Posts: 2    Search for other posts by a humble critic Search   Quote
Uriah's red hair certainly has a significant effect on the reader's mental image of him. That typical shade of red, added to his lash-less red eyes and writhing body makes him appear more abnormally sinister than any other hair colour could have done. But I find the symbolism behind his name highly interesting.

In the Bible, Uriah was a soldier in King David's(!) army. David seduced his wife, and in order to be able to marry her, sent off Uriah to certain death in the battlefield.

Evidently, Uriah here figures as the tragic martyr and King David as the villain. So in his novel, was Dickens asking his readers to consider David Copperfield's treatment of Uriah Heep? Was he, perhaps, asking us to judge if David was right in feeling repulsed by Uriah even before he had any solid ground to do so?

It may be noticed that David became openly hostile about Uriah Heep in his autobiography only after the latter had revealed his love for Agnes. It was jealousy. Does it not reflect King David's main motive to have Uriah killed?

Publication 1184 By Nibs on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 19:47   
Location: United States   Registered: Wednesday, May 6, 2009  Posts: 48    Search for other posts by Nibs Search   Quote
Not much activity on this post for the last few years, but I felt I might as well add this information. It's pretty obivious that David is not too keen on the fact of Uriah having red hair - it freaks him out and, evidently, he holds it against Mr. Heep. It turns out that, because of superstitions and folklore of the time, Uriah Heep would seem suspicious and villainous because of his hair color. In the Victorian Era, red hair was considered a mark of a viscious individual, a morally degenerate , unrestrained, and even underbred person (the color "red" in general supposedly pointed to these traits, too). This belief probably came from the traditional images of a red-haired Judas Iscariot, Satan, and Antichrist. The fact that Uriah had red hair would immediately be a "red flag" for Dickens' readers and point to his villainy, which later exhibits itself fully. HTH!

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