Charles Essay

333 WordsMay 7, 20122 Pages
URIAH HEEP, DICKENS' VILLAIN There is nothing subtle about Charles Dickens' characters. In some cases, their names alone create an impression for the reader. While some of these may not be as immediately recognizable by the modern American reader, surely the English in the late 1800s understood. While there may be some villains who are turned, Scrooge comes to mind; the toadying, smarmy Uriah Heep is the kind of "villain" with whom the English of that time could readily identify: someone so obsessed with "propriety" and with obsequiousness, that smile on front, and the stab in the back, the whiny tones and the quiet manner, someone who so obviously detests the people he is forced to serve. Benet's "The Reader's Encyclopedia" calls Heep " of the most fascinating characters in fiction, he is a detestable sneak, who is everlastingly forcing on one's attention that he is 'umble'. Actually Heep is designing and malignant and he becomes a blackmailing tyrant over Mr. Wickfield.." Some critics think of Uriah as a sort of Dickensian "supernatural creature, because his first appearance in the novel is as a disembodied thing: "When the pony-chaise stopped at the door...I saw a cadaverous face appear at a small window...The low thatched door then opened, and the face came out. It was quite as cadaverous as it had looked in the window, though in the grain of it there was that tinge of red which is sometimes observed in the skins of red-haired people...He was high-shouldered and bony, dressed in decent black...and had a long, lank, skeleton hand which particularly attracted my attention..." We tend to imagine Uriah as an old, wizened man, but it seems, at first meeting, he was just fifteen, but looked much older. The reason the critics think of some otherworldly "creature" is that Dickens describes the face, as coming out the door, and not the rest of the body (except that

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