Villains Characters in The Novel David Copperfield

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      Dickens always presented a great number of characters in his novels; there are over ninety-five in David Copperfield of which a small handful are villains or black characters. Dickens's moral sense and a childlike vision of life have led him to classify human beings into the good and the bad, the white and the black or the angels and the devils.

      Dickens has succeeded in creating some of the evilest characters in English literature. They receive their vitality from his humorous imagination. And he does poetic justice to them as well. Whereas the good characters end up by becoming happy and prosperous, the evil characters end up in a very sorry state. Let's give a cursory glance at these 'black characters:

• Mr. Edward Murdstone: He is David's black-haired, cold, cruel, calculating step-father.

• Miss Jane Murdstone: She is Mr. Murdstone's equally cruel sister; she added greatly to the misery of David and his mother.

• Tungay: He is a stout, bull-necked man with a wooden leg who assisted Mr. Creakle and acted as his spokesman at Salem House.

• Mr. Creakle: He is a cruel, incapable, stout, fiery-faced proprietor of Salem House, David's first school. He always speaks in a fierce whisper and later becomes a Middlesex magistrate.

• James Steerforth: He is David's handsome, clever, and charming friend. He is the spoilt darling of a wealthy mother and misuses his talents. He lures Emily away and leaves her when he tires of her. He is drowned when his ship is wrecked at Yarmouth.

• Uriah Heep: He is Mr. Wickfield's (the father of Miss Agnes and legal advisor to Miss Betsey) red-haired, cadaverous face clerk who is always writhing like a slimy snake and who keeps saying he is "umble" when actually he is a hypocrite and a villain who is later imprisoned for fraud.

• Littimer: He is Steerforth's unscrupulous man-servant who aids Steerforth in eloping with Emily. When Steerforth deserts Emily he tries to marry her but is not successful. He is later imprisoned for fraud.

      Besides these, there are a few other characters who are not exactly "black characters" but who are not good characters either. Mrs. Crupp, whom David's aunt dubbed "a time-server and subservient wealthworshipper"; Rosa Dartle, whom some critics consider as a possible case for a psycho-analyst and who is hateful and vengeful towards Emily; Mrs. Heep, who encourages her son Uriah in his "umbleness" - is "umble" herself too - and abets her son's schemes and crimes and a few others who are inclined towards the devil's side.

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