Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist: Character Analysis & Overview

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  • 0:00 Who Is Bill Sikes?
  • 0:24 Bill Sikes Character Analysis
  • 1:10 Sikes and Nancy
  • 2:32 Sike's Comeuppance
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ann Casano

Ann has taught university level Film classes and has a Master's Degree in Cinema Studies.

The words 'violent' and 'cruel' barely skim the surface when it comes to describing the character of Bill Sikes. In this lesson, we will take a look at the monstrous brute from Charles Dickens' ''Oliver Twist''.

Who is Bill Sikes?

Most would say that the antagonist in Oliver Twist is the miserly Fagin, the old man responsible for taking young poor boys and turning them into career criminals for his own financial gain. Yes, Fagin probably is the villain in the story. However, it can rightfully be disputed that the cruelest, most vicious and barbaric character is none other than Fagin's criminal business associate Bill Sikes.

Bill Sikes Character Analysis

Bill Sikes is in his thirties. We don't know much about his childhood or background. We can most likely assume that he grew up poor somewhere in the ghettos of London. We do know that he is very strong and stout and that he often works with Fagin on various criminal endeavors. He has a reputation around town as being a very violent man.

Bill Sikes has a bull terrier named Bull's Eye that he beats. He is also romantically involved with Nancy, who has been a thief since the age of six. Nancy is also a prostitute. Bill is certainly courageous and willing to risk his life in the name of crime. He does even show compassion for Oliver and Nancy at various points in the novel. However, we shouldn't throw too many compliments his way. His violent and quick temper should take center stage.

Sikes and Nancy

Nancy proves to be very kind to Oliver. She defends him when Fagin starts to beat the boy. But when Nancy is offered the opportunity to leave London and start a new life in a safe place, she turns it down. Why? This could be a testament of her love for Sikes. He is her pimp, and he abuses her. However, there are hints of affection between the couple.

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