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David Copperfield


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David Copperfield
   is the stage name of   
David Kotkin
Charles Dickens
   wrote   
David Copperfield
The most autobiographical of his novels, it comes at the mid-point of Dickens' career
Wilkins Micawber
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Enters the story when David takes lodging at his home. Continually in debt and looking for "something to turn up" he ends up in debtor's prison. On his release he rambles through the story in various occupations eventually employed at Mr Wickfield's office where he exposes the dastardly deeds of Uriah Heep. In gratitude for this his debts are paid and he emigrates to Australia, where he prospers. David describes him as "a stoutish, middle-aged person, in a brown surtout and black tights and shoes, with no more hair upon his head (which was a large one, and very shining) than there is upon an egg, and with a very extensive face. His clothes were shabby, but he had an imposing shirt-collar on. He carried a jaunty sort of a stick, with a large pair of rusty tassels to it; and a quizzing-glass hung outside his coat, - for ornament, I afterwards found, as he very seldom looked through it, and couldn't see anything when he did". The character is drawn heavily on Dickens' father.
Barkis
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
A carrier between Blunderstone and Yarmouth. He marries Clara Peggotty. Quote: Barkis is willin'
Mr Chillip
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Doctor who delivers David Copperfield.
Clara Copperfield
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Mother of David Copperfield. A widow when David is born, she later is lured into marriage by Edward Murdstone, who destroys her spirit and she dies along with her newborn son while David is away at school.
Creakle
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Severe headmaster of Salem House Academy where David first goes to school. He was based on William Jones, headmaster of Wellington Academy which Dickens attended from 1825-1827.
Mrs Crupp
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
David Copperfield's brandy-loving landlady at the Adelphi.
Rosa Dartle
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Companion to Mrs Steerforth, jealously in love with Steerforth, who has marked her face when a child by throwing a hammer in a fit of temper. Rosa hates Emily for running away with Steerforth. "A slight short figure, dark, and not agreeable to look at, but with some appearance of good looks too... She had black hair and eager black eyes, and was thin, and had a scar upon her lip. It was an old scar, I should rather call it seam, for it was not discoloured, and had healed years ago, which had once cut through her mouth, downward towards the chin, but was now barely visible across the table, except above and on her upper lip, the shape of which it had altered. I concluded in my own mind that she was about thirty years of age, and that she wished to be married. She was a little dilapidated, like a house, with having been so long to let; yet had, as I have said, an appearance of good looks. Her thinness seemed to be the effect of some wasting fire within her, which found a vent in her gaunt eyes".
Mr Dick
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
An eccentric lodger at Betsy Trotwood's and friend of David Copperfield.
Emily
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Mr Peggotty's niece and David's childhood friend. She is later engaged to Ham but is lured away by the charms of David's friend Steerforth. Mr Peggotty is heartbroken and searches for her, finally finding her when Steerforth tires of her and she leaves him. She later emigrates to Australia with her uncle, Mr Peggotty.
Mrs Gummidge
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Widow of Mr Peggotty's former partner in a boat, who had died very poor. She lives with Mr Peggotty and later emigrates to Australia with him. Quote: 'a lone lorn creetur' and everythink went contrary with her'.
Uriah Heep
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
A hypocritical clerk of Mr Wickfield's who is continually citing his humbleness. He deviously plots to ruin Wickfield but is later undone by Mr Micawber. On their first meeting, David describes him as "a red-haired person - a youth of fifteen, as I take it now, but looking much older - whose hair was cropped as close as the closest stubble; who had hardly any eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and eyes of a red-brown, so unsheltered and unshaded, that I remember wondering how he went to sleep. He was high-shouldered and bony; dressed in decent black, with a white wisp of a neckcloth; buttoned up to the throat; and had a long, lank, skeleton hand, which particularly attracted my attention, as he stood at the pony's head, rubbing his chin with it, and looking up at us in the chaise. He had a way of writhing when he wanted to express enthusiasm, which was very ugly" Uriah Heep, wonderfully hideous, is one of Dickens' greatest triumphs in character creation. His description of Heep's writhing and scheming, and his cold, clammy nature, makes one's skin crawl.
Littimer
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Manservant to Steerforth, involved in the concealment of the elopement of Steerforth and Emily. He is later guilty of embezzlement and is captured with the help of Miss Mowcher. David says of him "I believe there never existed in his station a more respectable-looking man. He was taciturn, soft-footed, very quiet in his manner, deferential, observant, always at hand when wanted, and never near when not wanted; but his great claim to consideration was his respectability".
Charles Mell
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Assistant Schoolmaster at Salem House Academy attended by David Copperfield. David befriends Mell and finds that Mell's mother lives in an almshouse which he innocently tells Steerforth. Steerforth uses this information to discredit Mell and have him dismissed. Mell later emigrates to Australia and becomes headmaster at Colonial Salem House Grammar School in Port Middlebay.
Emma Micawber
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Long suffering wife of Mr Micawber whom she swears she will never leave despite his financial difficulties. David describes her as "a thin and faded lady, not at all young, with a baby at her breast. This baby was one of twins; and I may remark here that I hardly ever, in all my experience of the family, saw both the twins detached from Mrs Micawber at the same time. One of them was always taking refreshment".
Julia Mills
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Friend and confidant of Dora Spenlow and David's go-between during his courtship with Dora. She later goes to live in India.
Miss Mowcher
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Dwarf hairdresser and manicurist of Steerforth. David, expecting to meet Miss Mowcher for the first time reports: "I looked at the doorway and saw nothing. I was still looking at the doorway, thinking that Miss Mowcher was a long while making her appearance, when, to my infinite astonishment, there came waddling round a sofa which stood between me and it, a pursy dwarf, of about forty or forty-five, with a very large head and face, a pair of roguish grey eyes, and such extremely little arms, that, to enable herself to lay a finger archly against her snub nose, as she ogled Steerforth, she was obliged to meet the finger half-way, and lay her nose against it. Her chin, which was what is called a double chin, was so fat that it entirely swallowed up the strings of her bonnet, bow and all". See sidebar on Copperfield page.
Edward Murdstone
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Second husband of Clara Copperfield whom David dislikes. He is a stern disciplinarian and sends David off to Salem House School and later consigns him to the warehouse of Murdstone and Grinby.
Jane Murdstone
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Sister of Edward Murdstone who moves in with David and his mother after her marriage to Murdstone. David describes her as "a gloomy-looking lady she was; dark, like her brother, whom she greatly resembled in face and voice; and with very heavy eyebrows, nearly meeting over her large nose. She kept the purse in a very jail of a bag which hung upon her arm by a heavy chain, and shut up like a bite. I had never, at that time, seen such a metallic lady altogether as Miss Murdstone was". She surfaces again in the novel as the "confidential friend" of Dora Spenlow.
Clara Peggotty
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
David's devoted nurse and sister to Daniel Peggotty. After the death of David's mother she is discharged and marries Barkis. When Barkis dies she goes to live with David and Betsy Trotwood. David comically describes getting a hug from Peggotty: "She laid aside her work (which was a stocking of her own), and opening her arms wide, took my curly head within them, and gave it a good squeeze. I know it was a good squeeze, because, being very plump, whenever she made any little exertion after she was dressed, some of the buttons on the back of her gown flew off. And I recollect two bursting to the opposite side of the parlour, while she was hugging me".
Daniel Peggotty
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Crotchety fisherman brother of Clare. He lives in an overturned boat on the beach at Yarmouth with Emily, Ham, and Mrs Gummidge. When Emily abandons them to elope with Steerforth, Daniel vows to find her. Steerforth later leaves Emily and she is re-united with Daniel. At the end of the novel Daniel, Emily, and Mrs Gummidge resettle in Australia.
Ham Peggotty
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Orphaned nephew of Daniel Peggotty and fiance of Emily. A fisherman and boatbuilder. He drowns trying to rescue Steerforth. "He was a huge, strong fellow of six feet high, broad in proportion, and round-shouldered; but with a simpering boy's face and curly light hair that gave him quite a sheepish look. He was dressed in a canvas jacket, and a pair of such very stiff trousers that they would have stood quite as well alone, without any legs in them. And you couldn't so properly have said he wore a hat, as that he was covered in a-top, like an old building, with something pitchy".
Dora Spenlow
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Daughter of David's employer, Francis. She and David are married and David tries to teach her to keep house, but she has no head for it. She becomes ill with an unspecified illness and dies young. Dickens based Dora on Maria Beadnell, his first love.
Francis Spenlow
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Proctor at Doctor's Commons where David is apprenticed and father of Dora. David says of him: "He was a little light-haired gentleman, with undeniable boots, and the stiffest of white cravats and shirt-collars. He was buttoned up, mighty trim and tight, and must have taken a great deal of pains with his whiskers, which were accurately curled".
James Steerforth
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Friend of David at the Salem House school where his engaging charm makes him everyone's favorite. David later runs into him again in London and he accompanies David on a trip to Yarmouth where he charms Emily into eloping with him. They go abroad and Steerforth soon tires of Emily and deserts her. He is later drowned in a shipwreck where Ham Peggotty, from whom Steerforth stole Emily away, dies trying to save him.
Tommy Traddles
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Fellow pupil with David Copperfield and Steerforth at Salem House. David's best friend and best man at David's wedding to Dora Spenlow. He later becomes a lawyer and marries Sophy Crewler.
Betsy Trotwood
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
David Copperfield's great aunt. David runs away from London, when he is installed at Murdstone and Grinby's warehouse, and goes to Dover to live with Betsy. She helps David get a start in life and, when she loses her fortune, goes to London to live with David. David describes her as "A tall, hard-featured lady, but by no means ill-looking. There was an inflexibility in her face, in her voice, in her gait and carriage, amply sufficient to account for the effect she had made upon a gentle creature like my mother; but her features were rather handsome than otherwise, though unbending and austere". Dickens' friend and biographer John Forster called Betsy "a gnarled and knotted piece of female timber, sound to the core".
Agnes Wickfield
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Childhood friend of David Copperfield and daughter of Betsy Trotwood's lawyer. Becomes David's wife after the death of Dora.
Mr Wickfield
   appeared in the Dickens novel   
David Copperfield
Father of Agnes and lawyer to Betsy Trotwood. His overindulgence of wine causes him to be vulnerable to the schemes of Uriah Heep, who becomes his partner and attempts to ruin him.
Shaun Davey
   wrote music for   
David Copperfield (2000)
Oliver Hardy
   was considered for the role of   
Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield (1935)
W.C. Fields got the part
Charles Laughton
   was considered for the role of   
Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield (1935)
W.C. Fields got the part
The Personal History of David Copperfield
   begins   
Whether I Shall Turn out to Be the Hero of My Own Life...
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. - Charles Dickens
Agnes Wickfield
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Childhood friend of David Copperfield and daughter of Betsy Trotwood's lawyer. Becomes David's wife after the death of Dora.
Barkis
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
A carrier between Blunderstone and Yarmouth. He marries Clara Peggotty. Quote: Barkis is willin'
Betsy Trotwood
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
David Copperfield's great aunt. David runs away from London, when he is installed at Murdstone and Grinby's warehouse, and goes to Dover to live with Betsy. She helps David get a start in life and, when she loses her fortune, goes to London to live with David. David describes her as "A tall, hard-featured lady, but by no means ill-looking. There was an inflexibility in her face, in her voice, in her gait and carriage, amply sufficient to account for the effect she had made upon a gentle creature like my mother; but her features were rather handsome than otherwise, though unbending and austere". Dickens' friend and biographer John Forster called Betsy "a gnarled and knotted piece of female timber, sound to the core".
Clara Copperfield
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Mother of David Copperfield. A widow when David is born, she later is lured into marriage by Edward Murdstone, who destroys her spirit and she dies along with her newborn son while David is away at school.
Clara Peggotty
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
David's devoted nurse and sister to Daniel Peggotty. After the death of David's mother she is discharged and marries Barkis. When Barkis dies she goes to live with David and Betsy Trotwood. David comically describes getting a hug from Peggotty: "She laid aside her work (which was a stocking of her own), and opening her arms wide, took my curly head within them, and gave it a good squeeze. I know it was a good squeeze, because, being very plump, whenever she made any little exertion after she was dressed, some of the buttons on the back of her gown flew off. And I recollect two bursting to the opposite side of the parlour, while she was hugging me".
Creakle
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Severe headmaster of Salem House Academy where David first goes to school. He was based on William Jones, headmaster of Wellington Academy which Dickens attended from 1825-1827.
Daniel Peggotty
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Crotchety fisherman brother of Clare. He lives in an overturned boat on the beach at Yarmouth with Emily, Ham, and Mrs Gummidge. When Emily abandons them to elope with Steerforth, Daniel vows to find her. Steerforth later leaves Emily and she is re-united with Daniel. At the end of the novel Daniel, Emily, and Mrs Gummidge resettle in Australia.
Dora Spenlow
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Daughter of David's employer, Francis. She and David are married and David tries to teach her to keep house, but she has no head for it. She becomes ill with an unspecified illness and dies young. Dickens based Dora on Maria Beadnell, his first love.
Emily
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Mr Peggotty's niece and David's childhood friend. She is later engaged to Ham but is lured away by the charms of David's friend Steerforth. Mr Peggotty is heartbroken and searches for her, finally finding her when Steerforth tires of her and she leaves him. She later emigrates to Australia with her uncle, Mr Peggotty.
Emma Micawber
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Long suffering wife of Mr Micawber whom she swears she will never leave despite his financial difficulties. David describes her as "a thin and faded lady, not at all young, with a baby at her breast. This baby was one of twins; and I may remark here that I hardly ever, in all my experience of the family, saw both the twins detached from Mrs Micawber at the same time. One of them was always taking refreshment".
Ham Peggotty
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Orphaned nephew of Daniel Peggotty and fiance of Emily. A fisherman and boatbuilder. He drowns trying to rescue Steerforth. "He was a huge, strong fellow of six feet high, broad in proportion, and round-shouldered; but with a simpering boy's face and curly light hair that gave him quite a sheepish look. He was dressed in a canvas jacket, and a pair of such very stiff trousers that they would have stood quite as well alone, without any legs in them. And you couldn't so properly have said he wore a hat, as that he was covered in a-top, like an old building, with something pitchy".
James Steerforth
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Friend of David at the Salem House school where his engaging charm makes him everyone's favorite. David later runs into him again in London and he accompanies David on a trip to Yarmouth where he charms Emily into eloping with him. They go abroad and Steerforth soon tires of Emily and deserts her. He is later drowned in a shipwreck where Ham Peggotty, from whom Steerforth stole Emily away, dies trying to save him.
Mr Dick
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
An eccentric lodger at Betsy Trotwood's and friend of David Copperfield.
Mrs Gummidge
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Widow of Mr Peggotty's former partner in a boat, who had died very poor. She lives with Mr Peggotty and later emigrates to Australia with him. Quote: 'a lone lorn creetur' and everythink went contrary with her'.
Uriah Heep
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
A hypocritical clerk of Mr Wickfield's who is continually citing his humbleness. He deviously plots to ruin Wickfield but is later undone by Mr Micawber. On their first meeting, David describes him as "a red-haired person - a youth of fifteen, as I take it now, but looking much older - whose hair was cropped as close as the closest stubble; who had hardly any eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and eyes of a red-brown, so unsheltered and unshaded, that I remember wondering how he went to sleep. He was high-shouldered and bony; dressed in decent black, with a white wisp of a neckcloth; buttoned up to the throat; and had a long, lank, skeleton hand, which particularly attracted my attention, as he stood at the pony's head, rubbing his chin with it, and looking up at us in the chaise. He had a way of writhing when he wanted to express enthusiasm, which was very ugly" Uriah Heep, wonderfully hideous, is one of Dickens' greatest triumphs in character creation. His description of Heep's writhing and scheming, and his cold, clammy nature, makes one's skin crawl.
Wilkins Micawber
   appears in the Dickens' novel   
David Copperfield
Enters the story when David takes lodging at his home. Continually in debt and looking for "something to turn up" he ends up in debtor's prison. On his release he rambles through the story in various occupations eventually employed at Mr Wickfield's office where he exposes the dastardly deeds of Uriah Heep. In gratitude for this his debts are paid and he emigrates to Australia, where he prospers. David describes him as "a stoutish, middle-aged person, in a brown surtout and black tights and shoes, with no more hair upon his head (which was a large one, and very shining) than there is upon an egg, and with a very extensive face. His clothes were shabby, but he had an imposing shirt-collar on. He carried a jaunty sort of a stick, with a large pair of rusty tassels to it; and a quizzing-glass hung outside his coat, - for ornament, I afterwards found, as he very seldom looked through it, and couldn't see anything when he did". The character is drawn heavily on Dickens' father.






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