Great Expectations: Miss Havisham Quotes

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  • 0:00 Revenge
  • 0:29 First Impressions
  • 1:01 'Break Their Hearts'
  • 1:55 Pip Gets the Boot
  • 2:32 Miss Havisham's Pleasure
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

In the story 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham is a mysterious and strange character. In this lesson, we will take a look at some of her quotes and see what they reveal about her personality.


If you have ever wanted to get revenge so badly that you could not think of anything else, you may be able to relate to Miss Havisham. In Great Expectations, Miss Havisham spends most of her time plotting revenge against all men, including Pip. From the first time that Pip meets her, we see that she has experienced some emotional trauma. By examining some of her quotes, we gain a better understanding of her wishes.

First Impressions

When Pip arrives at Miss Havisham's house, one of the first things she says to him is: 'Look at me. You are not afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since you were born?' This question is revealing and mysterious at the same time. Pip lies and says that he is not afraid. Later, Miss Havisham puts her hand on her chest and asks if Pip knows what is there. When he responds that it is her heart, she replies: 'Broken.' Miss Havisham is depressed over her broken heart.

'Break Their Hearts'

As Pip gets to know Miss Havisham, he spends more time at her home. Pip develops serious romantic feelings towards Estella. Estella, on the other hand, can barely stand him. Sometimes Miss Havisham asks Pip: 'Does she grow prettier and prettier, Pip?' Pip then responds that Estella does grow prettier, and Miss Havisham '...would seem to enjoy it greedily.'

Around this same time, Pip explains that he often hears Miss Havisham whisper something to Estella. This something sounds like: 'Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!' Miss Havisham is interested in Pip's feelings towards Estella and enjoys the fact that he thinks she is pretty. At the same time, it's clear that Miss Havisham is no matchmaker. No one playing Cupid would whisper in a young girl's ear that she should break people's hearts!

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