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Uriah Heep is a fictional character created by Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield.

The character is notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and general insincerity. His references to David as “Master Copperfield” are repeated so often that they quickly seem insincere. He is the central antagonist of the later part of the book. David first meets him when he is living with Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes. Uriah is repeatedly mentioned as ugly and repulsive - tall, lank and pale with red hair and lashless eyes. Dickens negatively emphasizes Uriah's movements as well, described as jerking and wriggling; this leads many literary scholars to believe Dickens is describing a form of dystonia, a muscular disorder, to increase Uriah's snakelike character. Uriah explains in another part of the book that his ambition and greed are fueled by resentment from the double-standard of his schooling and from his treatment as a child, and by encouragement from his parents. Uriah works as Mr. Wickfield’s law clerk, teaches himself law at night, and by blackmailing Mr. Wickfield, gains control over his business.

He eventually succeeds in having himself made a full partner in the business. His eventual ambition is to marry Agnes and gain control of the Wickfield fortune. Like most of Dickens’s villains, greed is his main motivation. Heep is eventually stymied by Mr. Micawber and Tommy Traddles, with help from David and Agnes. Once his fraud and treachery are unmasked, he persists in hounding Micawber and Copperfield. Towards the end of the novel, he is last seen in Mr. Creakle’s prison where we find that he has returned to his “humble” ways, and puts himself forward as a model prisoner.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Uriah Heep."
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