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SEBASTIAN LEHNER
David Copperfield as an example of the Victorian socio-critical novel
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Page 28

8. Crime – An Attempt to Break the Rules of the System


Already in the days of Charles Dickens, crime had been a very important issue and problem. There were the bad living conditions, there was the lack of money and there was the desperate situation, many of the common people were in, and all those factors could easily lead to a person becoming angry, developing a hatred against the social-system and thus beginning to commit crimes. Dickens has set up one great villain in his story, Uriah Heep.

Uriah Heep works as a clerk in a law- firm, owned by Mr Wickfield ( a friend of David Copperfield) and lives, together with his mother, in quite an ordinary house. So all in all one can say that they are not very rich people. So together with the natural evilness that is inherent in this character, Uriah Heep makes the perfect match to convey the idea of breaking the rules of the social system and committing crimes, in order to unjustly improve the own living conditions. By David he is described a very unpleasant person: “But oh, what a clammy hand his was! as ghostly to the touch as to the sight”[39] So here the outside clearly reflects the inside and the evliness can be felt on the first touch. Furthermore Heep is depicted as a very hypocritical person, always calling himself “umble”[40]. So he pretends to be inferior to others, with the evil intention to just lull others into a false sense of security and work his way behind their backs.

[39] Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.215     [40] Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.242

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