Mr Jaggers

Mr Jaggers

Mr Jaggers is a highly successful London lawyer. Many of the characters in the novel are linked through Jaggers and his law firm. Both Miss Havisham and Magwitch use his services and he is Pip's guardian during his stay in London. Jaggers' housekeeper Molly is someone he had successfully defended on a murder charge. Jaggers arranges for Molly's daughter – the young Estella - to live with Miss Havisham.

Jaggers is a complex character who can be very secretive about the work he does. He has probably successfully defended people who are guilty and may be inwardly uneasy about this. He does display flashes of kindness and humanity but it is all disguised by a cold and forbidding exterior.

How is Jaggers like this?EvidenceAnalysis
MysteriousMr Jaggers first appears as an unnamed character who passes Pip on the stairs at Miss Havisham's house. He never tells anyone more than he needs to and gives Pip no clues as to where the money has come from.He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark complexion, with an exceedingly large head, and a corresponding large hand… He was prematurely bald on the top of his head, and had bushy black eyebrows that wouldn't lie down but stood up bristling. His eyes were set very deep in his head, and were disagreeably sharp and suspicious.To the young Pip, Mr Jaggers seems rather like a fairy-tale ogre. It is not clear at this stage whether the reader is supposed to like this man or not. Like Pip, we will find out the truth about him gradually.
TroubledMr Jaggers has a number of rituals or habits which are repeated so often that they suggest he is uneasy about the work he does. These include: hand washing, scrubbing his fingers, cleaning his nails, gargling and 'biting the side of his great forefinger.'He washed his clients off, as if it were a surgeon or a dentist. He had a closet in his room, fitted up for the purpose, which smelt of scented soap like a perfumer's shop.Jaggers carries out this action repeatedly in the novel. It is as though he is trying to wash away the crime he has been associated with. This reminds us of Pontius Pilate in the Bible, who washes his hands to prove he is not responsible for the death of Jesus. It is also like Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare's play, who manically washes her hands of the supposed blood of King Duncan.