Character Sketch of Uriah Heep in David Copperfield
Uriah Heep is an important figure in the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. He is the villain of die novel. He is a mischievous and black-hearted man. He is the logo of Dickens. He is a hypocrite. His meanness is incomparable. He betrays everybody. He is dishonest and ungrateful.
Uriah Heep is a man of cunning and treacherous nature! He very cunningly and deceitfully learns from David the secrets of Mr. Wickfield’s business and private life. Uriah Heep is a thorough hypocrite and cheat. He is a slimy, creepy imposter. He pretends humility. He poses to be a humble man. But all his humility is a mere show. He is highly ambitious, but his ambition is very bad. His ambition is only to get money, position, and power. For that, he is going to stoop to any extent. He displaces his master. He causes misery and suffering to all.
Uriah Heep practices cheating in cold blood. Firstly, he tries to know all about his master’s private life and his business secrets. He invites David to his house where he and his mother try to get information from him in a very clever manner. Then he studies law till late hours. Not that he wants to become a lawyer, but because he wants to master the legal intricacies and technicalities so as to use them in his plot against Wickfield. He, then, proceeds very cunningly to enmesh Mr. Wickfield. He forges his signatures on certain important documents with the result that the poor man is soon under his thumb. Then he blackmails him and forces him to make him a partner in the firm. He also commits more forgeries. He forces Mr. Wickfield into using Mrs.Betsey’s money for meeting business commitments that either does not exist or have already been provided for. He shows Mr. Wickfield that he is trying to save him from imminent degradation, while, in fact, he is himself pocketing all the money. He also draws a bill of sale on all his household furniture, in return for which Heep is to pay him an annuity, thus making Mr. Wickfield financially dependent on Heep. The whole plot shows his cruelty, unscrupulousness, and mischievousness. Thus he is the cause of the downfall of his own master who has firm faith in him.
Hypocrisy is the second nature of Uriah Heep. He is a source of misery and suffering to many persons. Being frustrated and unhappy from childhood, he gives suffering and cruelty to his society. He is the source of all the miseries to his master and his daughter, Agnes. In fact, she knows full well that he is a devil incarnate yet she is helpless. He becomes a rival to David and creates obstacles in his marriage with Agnes. He takes out by fraudulent means all the money of Miss Betsey. The result is that not only Betsey but also David has to undergo a lot of economic difficulties and troubles. David has to give up his plans of studying law. He has to work as a secretary on account of Miss Betsey’s loss of money. When this calamity takes place David is engaged to Dora and hopes to marry her very soon. But his poverty becomes a hindrance though Dora continues to love him, her father Mr. Spenlow tells him not to visit his daughter anymore. All this suffering is caused to David on account of Uriah Heep’s villainy. Thus Uriah Heep is a black-hearted villain.
To conclude, Uriah Heep is a heap of rubbish and dirt, of cruelty and villainy. He is selfish, greedy, and hypocritical. He causes misery and suffering to those persons who come in contact with him.