Mr. Woodcourt is a young surgeon, the son of Mrs. Woodcourt, and the eventual husband of Esther Summerson. Mr. Woodcourt is a generous and loyal young man who dedicates his life to his career and spends his time as a doctor caring for the poor rather than the rich. He has little interest in wealth and takes a low-paying post at a poor hospital in Yorkshire at the novel’s end. Mr. Woodcourt is in love with Esther throughout the novel, although she denies this to herself, and his love for her remains strong when he returns from a voyage overseas and finds that her face has been scarred during a bout of smallpox. Mr. Woodcourt proves that he does not love her for her looks alone but for her kind and generous spirit. His name suggests that he is a solid man who “courts” Esther loyally and will remain by her side no matter what. He is also a loyal friend to Richard Carstone, whom he befriends at Esther’s request, to try and help Richard during his time of depression. Mr. Woodcourt is an effective surgeon because he makes his patience feel heard and puts them at ease.
Mr. Woodcourt Quotes in Bleak House
The Bleak House quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Woodcourt or refer to Mr. Woodcourt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Wordsworth edition of Bleak House published in 1993.).
Chapter 35 Quotes
What should I have suffered, if I had had to write to him, and tell him that the poor face he had known as mine was quite gone from me, and that I freely released him from his bondage to one whom he had never seen!
Mr. Woodcourt Character Timeline in Bleak House
The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Woodcourt appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...dinner, and Mrs. Badger observes that Richard does not enjoy his work and that, unlike Mr. Woodcourt , Richard does not have the patience or dedication required to make a success of... (full context)
...the Woodcourt line. She watches Esther carefully and explains—to Esther’s confusion—that, because of his heritage, Mr. Woodcourt cannot marry whomever he pleases. When Esther tries to change the subject, Mrs. Woodcourt asks... (full context)
...finally delivered, she will free her birds. She changes the subject and tells Esther about Mr. Woodcourt . The boat that he had been traveling on was shipwrecked, and Mr. Woodcourt was... (full context)
...face makes her remember Mrs. Woodcourt and, for some reason, this and the memory of Mr. Woodcourt ’s flowers makes her cry again. Before she goes to sleep, she finds the flowers—which... (full context)
...Caddy has a doctor and, although Esther says yes, Mr. Jarndyce suggests that they employ Mr. Woodcourt . When Caddy is feeling a little better, Esther tells her that she is engaged... (full context)
...the new relationship between herself and Mr. Jarndyce. One night, Mr. Jarndyce and Esther discuss Mr. Woodcourt , and Mr. Jarndyce says that he seems like a man who has suffered some... (full context)
...a solid, honest fellow Mr. Vholes is and then throws himself mournfully on the couch. Mr. Woodcourt comes in soon after this and persuades Richard, in a friendly, unassuming way, to take... (full context)
...health grows worse, and his obsession with Chancery becomes “like the madness of a gamester.” Mr. Woodcourt still goes to see him, but Esther can see that Richard deteriorates. One night, Esther... (full context)