Pip is the protagonist and narrator of Great Expectations. When the story commences he is aged seven, orphaned and being raised by his sister and brother-in-law in the marshes of Kent. He makes the transition from apprentice blacksmith to young gentleman and his character suffers serious changes during this period. He is determined to improve himself in order to win the hand of Estella.
Estella is the young adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, who has been brought up to break men’s hearts. She becomes Pip’s unattainable dream throughout the novel. She is both beautiful and haughty, and delights in taunting Pip.
Miss Havisham is an eccentric wealthy old woman who lives in a manor house near Pip’s village. All the clocks in her home are stopped at the time when she was jilted and she is still dressed in her faded wedding dress. She has raised Estella to be the instrument of her revenge, training her to break men’s hearts.
Abel Magwitch At the start of the book, is the memorable scene between a young Pip and the fearsome escaped convict, Magwitch. Pip acts kindly towards the convict, stealing food and a file for him, which leaves a lasting impression on the convict. He is deported to Australia where he makes a fortune, which he uses to make Pip a gentleman.
Joe Gargery is Pip’s brother-in-law and village blacksmith and is the only adult character to show any affection towards Pip. He is more than a stepfather to Pip, but is a great friend throughout the story, despite Pip’s bad treatment towards him, when he has become a snob.
Jaggers is a very powerful character in the book, which is hired by Magwitch to supervise Pip’s education as a gentleman. He happens to also be the lawyer for Miss Havisham and he made arrangements for the adoption of Estella.
Wemmick is Jaggers’ clerk who becomes Pip’s friend and masterminds Magwitch’s escape from England. He is one of the strangest characters in Great Expectations who has almost a split personality – one for business and one for his private life. He is also obsessed with portable property and his fingers are covered in many rings.
Mrs. Joe is Pip’s sister who brings him up harshly and bullies both Pip and her husband.