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Bill Sikes in ‘Oliver Twist’ Essay

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This device is important as it helps with the presentation of Bill Sikes, as it emphasises the different actions which he carries out when killing Nancy, it suggests how determined he is on expressing his anger and asserting his authority. One of the last lines which Sikes says to Nancy is “You know you she-devil”, this illustrates his anger and through the little words which he says, what Sikes does say is of importance, because it is spoken in such a concise manner.

Dickens also presents in this extract, as Sikes walks into the room where Nancy is, Nancy who appears to be in a situation where, she is pleading him to spare her life. She says to Sikes “Then spare my life…” which implies how desperate she is, and how Sikes has the upper hand in this situation, in the text. The use of the word “cried” from the original extract further suggests the urgency in her voice as she tries to justify her actions to Sikes, who has already gone in to the room, with the intent to kill Nancy.

Both the use of few lines and the pleading of Nancy are replicated somewhat in the film adaptation; however Nancy does not have the opportunity to explain and justify her actions in the film adaptation. The film uses various camera angles as a device, for example a low angle shot for Sikes, to make him appear more powerful in the situation, and the high angle shot for Nancy, suggesting she is vulnerable and weak.

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There is a point of view shot, immediately after Sikes has realised he has killed Nancy to suggest the realisation of his own actions, and it helps to see what has happened from the character’s viewpoint. The use of music is another device within the film adaptation used to present the character of Bill Sikes, which can clearly not be included in the original text. There is no initial audio, as the absence of music, the silence, suggests the great anger which Sikes is feeling. The music is mainly diegetic, quite silent, as it includes sounds of breathing and movement and so on.

During the period after Nancy is killed, soft music is played, with no lyrics to suggest it is quite sad, and also implying there is very little to say as Nancy has been killed. Therefore there have been a number of devices which have been used with the character of Bill Sikes in ‘Oliver Twist’, some which have been included in both the original text and film adaptation, such as the choice of giving a small number of lines to Sikes. However there have been some devices, from the filmmaker’s craft, which can only be used in a film, which include the camera angles and music.

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