Character Sketch of Noah Claypole in Oliver Twist

Noah Claypole is a charity boy employed by Mr Sowerberry: He is senior to Oliver in age and superior to him in status because his parentage is known. In his appearance he is large headed, small eyed, of lumbering make and heavy countenance. In a book which seeks to expose the miserable consequences of malnutrition, he stands out as one character who is really fond of eating. At Mr Sowerberrys, he is first shown to be having a feast of bacon and later drinking wine and eating oysters.

When we first meet Noah Claypole, we see him bullying and persecuting Oliver, but Dickens makes it very clear that he persecutes him not so much through malice as through his need for a scapegoat. He has himself been badly treated by the society. He has been exposed to a lot of humiliation and when he gets an opportunity, he immediately transfers all this humiliation to Oliver.

Claypole is a Coward

It is a psychological truth that those who arebu1lies are also great cowards. Mr. Bumble is a bully and a coward, and so is Noah Claypole. When Oliver Challenges him, he immediately starts shouting and yelling for help. When Charlotte suggests that they should send for the police officers, he says that they should preferably call the military.He betrays the same cowardice in London when he tells Fagin that he would like some work “something not too trying for the strength, and not very dangerous, you know”. So in Noah Claypole cowardice and a tendency to avoid work are both combined.

At the end of the novel Noah Claypole becomes a police informer. He is given reprieve for having betrayed Fagin to the Police. Later he takes this as a profession. In this work, Charlotte assists him as she has been assisting him earlier in all his undertakings.

He is also a victim. Despite Noah’s all delinquent qualities, he ranks not with the villains in Dickens’s gallery, but with the victims. He is simply a typical product of the whole system Dickens was attacking and he ends up as the most despised servant of that system, for having turned kings evidence against Fagin, he finally goes into business as an informer.

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