Symphacy to Miss Havisham's Suffering

Categories: Suffering

How Far Does the Poet Want Us to Sympathize with Miss Havisham? The poet wants us to sympathize with Miss Havisham greatly, but not entirely. Her own trappings of her strong need for revenge and her morbid existence that has destroyed her carry a symbolic meaning of self-absorption and destruction. This poem introduces us to Miss Havisham's character, who has become a type of embittered woman disappointed in love and enjoys withdrawing from the world. First of all, this poem is written from a first-person point of view.

She begins by telling the reader the cause of her pain and suffering - her "beloved sweetheart bastard," which gravitates into a sense of bitterness and vengeance. In addition to that, the use of an oxymoron in the above-said phrase indicates a contradiction of words. The words "beloved" and "sweetheart" indicate a very admirable personality, but the word "bastard" gives us a completely conflicting quality. Furthermore, she tells us that she not only wished him to be dead, but instead, she prayed for his death, evident by "Not a day since then I haven't wished him dead.

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Prayed for it..." She prayed so hard that she had "dark green pebbles for eyes and ropes on the back of my hands she could strangle with." She uses metaphors here to explain to us that while she prayed, she had her eyes shrunk hard and felt that her hands were strong enough to strangle someone, which fits her murderous personality. It makes us feel piteous for her as seeing that she has suffered a great amount until it has reached insanity, but at the same time, it makes us feel really disturbed by her mad identity.

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The second stanza symbolizes her "self-absorption" and "self-pity" behaviors. She started off with a strong word: "Spinster."

The use of caesura at the beginning of this stanza shows how much she emphasizes and detests this word. Besides, the feeling of abhorrence has been further strengthened by the use of a trochee can be seen in the word "Spinster" as the first syllable is stressed. Moving on, Miss Havisham is also aware of her own stink as she does not ever change her clothes. This shows how withdrawn she is from the world. Moreover, she stays in bed all day and "caws" in denial, which shows how she was on the verge of irrationality and stupidity.

In the end of this stanza, she ended with "who did this." She knows very well that she was a big cause of this problem, but I feel that she also wanted to put the blame on the ex-fiancé as she only completed her question in the next stanza. This stanza makes us feel really sorry for her seeing that she cannot get over her past as it keeps haunting her. In the third stanza, she started to dream about her lost lover in a tender manner. "Some nights better, the lost body over me..." suggests that she misses her lost lover enormously.

She fantasizes about herself enjoying her time with her ex-lover, but it did not last long as when she finally regains her conscience, her hatred and anger return, evident by "then down till I suddenly bite awake." This stanza truly reaches out to me because I can feel that deep inside she tries to recover the wonderful memories they may have had together but she eventually decides to ignore it as she still had that tinge of anger inside her that she cannot let go.

The last stanza mainly talks about how her rage and abhorrence restore. It is somewhat similar to the first stanza, but she seems more furious in the last stanza. Thinking of how she actually "stabbed a wedding cake" shows us that she is plotting a huge revenge on a "male corpse" which we all postulate that it is her lover.

This stanza makes me feel a little frightened by her as her attitude is rather alarming. Overall, I really do sympathize with Miss Havisham deeply, but I do criticize some of her actions. For instance, I do not like the fact that she wants to inflict pain on others just because it is for her own sake. By praying for someone to die and planning revenge on someone is not the right way to solve a problem.

However, I do greatly pity her because of the phase she is going through. It is not easy getting over someone. In conclusion, the poet wants us all to sympathize with her greatly, but only to a certain extent. We commiserate her for her peculiarity and her self-indulgence, but her sullenness and vindictiveness make us feel that she is a very vivacious and debauched person.

Miss Havisham, a character created by Charles Dickens in his novel "Great Expectations," is one of the most intriguing and complex figures in English literature. Her story is one of heartbreak, revenge, and ultimately, self-destruction. Miss Havisham was left at the altar by her fiancé, who abandoned her on their wedding day. This betrayal shattered her world and left her consumed by bitterness and a desire for vengeance.

Throughout the novel, Miss Havisham's character is portrayed as a woman trapped in the past, unable to move on from the pain and humiliation she experienced. She lives in a decaying mansion, surrounded by the remnants of her wedding day - a rotting wedding cake, a yellowing wedding dress - as if frozen in time. Her obsession with seeking revenge on men, using her adopted daughter Estella as a pawn in her game of manipulation, further highlights her twisted and vengeful nature.

Despite her cruel and vindictive actions, there is a sense of tragedy in Miss Havisham's character. She is a woman who has been deeply wounded by love and left to wallow in her own misery. Her desire for revenge is a way of coping with her pain, a way of exerting control over a world that has betrayed her. In this sense, the reader cannot help but feel a certain degree of sympathy for her plight.

However, it is also important to recognize the destructive nature of Miss Havisham's actions. Her obsession with revenge ultimately leads to her own downfall, as she becomes consumed by bitterness and hatred. Her treatment of Estella, whom she raises to break men's hearts as a form of retribution, is a clear example of the toxic cycle of pain and suffering that she perpetuates.

In conclusion, while it is possible to sympathize with Miss Havisham's tragic circumstances and the pain she has endured, it is also important to acknowledge the destructive consequences of her actions. Her story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of holding onto anger and seeking revenge at all costs. Ultimately, Miss Havisham's character is a complex and multi-faceted portrayal of the human capacity for both love and cruelty, and it is this complexity that makes her such a compelling and enduring figure in literature.


Updated: Feb 15, 2024
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Symphacy to Miss Havisham's Suffering. (2016, May 12). Retrieved from

Symphacy to Miss Havisham's Suffering essay
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