Also with Dickens’ idea of the legal system being iniquitous the judge doesn’t take into account that the convict has changed, he has helped Pip quite significantly, the convict made Pip a gentleman. The convict was now living a good life but this new lifestyle was ignored by the court due to his background. As we get closer and closer to the convict’s death Pip treats him differently, Pip speaks more openly, he asks questions he’d never risk asking before; “Were you-tried-in London”.
Pip is asking the convict about his dark past but hesitates slightly; we can tell this by the way that Pip stutters when questioning the convict. Pip has grown closer to the convict and visa-versa; the convict is comfortable in telling Pip about his dark past; when Pip says “were you-tried-in London” the convict responded with “Which time?” this suggests that the convict’s past was darker than we first foresaw.
During chapter 56 the chapter in the novel where the convict dies. Before it says, “he had spoken his last words”(the convict dying) the convict speaks to Pip in a comforting way. The convict thanks Pip for waiting at the gate to be let in to see him; “You always waits at the gate; don’t you, dear boy?” The convict is appreciative for Pip’s staunch, comfort, pity and friendship; “God bless you! You’ve never me, dear boy” Pip also talks to the convict very comfortingly; “Yes.
Not to lose a moment of time”. They are both very steadfast to each other. After it says, “he had spoken his last words”(the convict dying), Pip forces a bodily reaction out of the convict “A gentle pressure on my hand…A greater pressure on my hand.” This is so that Pip can feel as if the convict will stay with him even though he is now dead; “A gentle pressure on my hand…A greater pressure on my hand.” Pip will never forget the convict because just as he dies Pip says “O Lord be merciful to him a sinner!” Pip is saying, let him go to heaven, although he was a sinner, he changed, he became a good person.
This is a very emotional moment for both Pip and us, we feel Pip’s love for the convict as he pleads for him to have good health in the after life. The convict’s role is important because it shows how money can change someone’s life. The convict is the character that moves the plot along. The convict’s character changes from good to evil to dead. The convict is used as a contrivance to elucidate the legal system at Dickens’ time; if you were poor you got treated badly and if you were rich you got treated well.
Pip found this out the hard way; when he was poor he had a bad life and when he received the convict’s money and became a gentleman he was treated and looked after well. The convict’s four appearances move the plot along. At the marshes, in the beginning, the second, when he comes to tell Pip that he is his benefactor. Thirdly the trial which sentences the convict to death and lastly his death but at least he leaves the novel and his life being loved by Pip and being thought of as a good person by Pip and us, the readers.