In this dissertation I provide an analysis of grotesque characters in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectation (1860-1861) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865). Dickens’s later novels are darker than his earlier work, but return to some of the same political and social concerns. Dickens creates lots of room for grotesque characters in these novels, and he uses the grotesque actively to build emotional relations between the characters and the reader.
The first novel, A Tale of Two Cities, concentrates on a few select characters which I feel best display grotesqueness. The French Revolution allows Dickens to display numerous grotesque situations as the French citizens take revenge over the French aristocracy. The second novel, Great Expectation, focus on Pip’s relationship towards grotesque characters such as Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Estella, and how the grotesque functions on a more mental level. In the third novel, Our Mutual Friend, I analyse the grotesque relationship between a variety of characters such as Eugene Wrayburn and Bradley Headstone.
In the conclusion I show similarities and differences between both physical and mental grotesqueness displayed by these characters.