David Copperfield is born shortly after the death of his father. Clara - his mother - is kind, impractical, querulous and "proud of being so pretty". Peggotty is David's nurse and Clara's housekeeper - the anchor of the little
household. She takes David for holidays to see her brother in Yarmouth, where he first meets Peggotty's orphaned nephew and niece - Ham and Emily. "of course I was in love with little Emily. My agony of mind at leaving her was piercing..."
An idyllic childhood in the Suffolk countryside is cut short by his mother's remarriage to the cruel Mr Murdstone. Harsh discipline, difficult lessons and a savage beating culminate in David's departure for Salem House, a boarding school, where he falls under the influence of an older boy - the handsome, charismatic James Steerforth.
David survives the gulag-like regime of the headmaster - Mr Creakle, to embark on the turbulent, difficult, remarkable history of his young life, aided and inhibited by the feckless but ever optimistic Mr Micawber; his aunt Betsy Trotwood - eccentric enthusiast and foe to all donkeys; her companion, the three-quarters mad Mr Dick; Betsy Trotwood's lawyer - Mr Wickfield and his daughter - Agnes, a creature of "goodness , resolution, all noble qualities" - and of course the evil Uriah Heep ("I'm a very ’umble person. I am well aware that I am the ’umblest person going, let the other be where he may...").
But David's adult life is no calmer than his childhood, disturbed by a succession of dramatic upheavals. At the end of the play, Agnes is left - a solitary figure in the wastes of David's ruined hopes and dreams, reaching out a hand that might lead him into a loving future.
David Copperfield is also available in German and
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