Edward Murdstone: Character Analysis in David Copperfield

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      Dickens has drawn the character of Mr. Edward Murdstone in rather dark colors. He is the villain of the whole story. As the novel begins to unfold, we find that Mr. Murdstone had become instrumental in breaking the peace of David's family. He married David's mother and took a rather unkind attitude towards David. He even ill-treated him and wanted him out of the way. He hated David and cruelly beat him. He wanted him out of his way So he takes decision to send David to Salem House where David had a very bad time. Actually, Mr. Murdstone had planned to get David somewhat educated first of all and then put in some kind of service and thus cut him off from his mother.

      His evil plans, however; did not succeed. David had to go to Salem House; David had to join Murdstone and Grinby and Co. but from that point onward, he revolted. He ran away to his aunt who undertook to protect him from the odds of life till he learned to stand up on his own legs.

      Mr. Murdstone obviously did not aim at David's welfare or betterment. David to him was nothing but a pawn to be used to bring good returns. Naturally, his interest clashed with David's, who wanted to make out for himself a place in the sun.

      Actually, there are reasons to believe that Mr. Murdstone's character would not have appeared so villainous without the darker background as provided by Miss Murdstone. She was the brain behind the whole thing and it was mainly under the evil spell of this mean counselor that Mr. Murdstone was urged to adopt so many wrong steps. This is, however, not to give the impression that Mr. Murdstone looks bad in our eyes because we misunderstand him. He is basically a mischievous character.

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