David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Wilkins Micawber is married to Mrs. Micawber, with whom he has several children. He is a "shabby" but "genteel" man who is perpetually in debt. He speaks in flowery language—a sign that he aspires to something beyond his lower-middle class life—and is prone to wild swings of emotion; visits from creditors tend to send him into fits of despair, but he typically recovers within a few hours in the certainty that "something will turn up." David first encounters the Micawbers when he rents a room from them while working at the counting-house. He grows deeply attached to them but soon realizes that Mr. Micawber cannot be trusted to manage money. David suggests, however, that Micawber's financial difficulties are not the result of laziness, since he is capable of working quite industriously when he knows that doing so will benefit other people. This becomes particularly clear when Mr. Micawber uses his position as Uriah Heep's clerk to expose his employer's wrongdoings. Ultimately, Micawber and his family relocate to Australia—a less rigid and stratified society, where Micawber is finally able to achieve success and stability as a magistrate.

Mr. Micawber Quotes in David Copperfield

The David Copperfield quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Micawber or refer to Mr. Micawber. 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:
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin edition of David Copperfield published in 2013.
Chapter 11 Quotes

I set down this remembrance here, because it is an instance to myself of the manner in which I fitted my old books to my altered life, and made stories for myself, out of the streets, and out of men and women; and how some main points in the character I shall unconsciously develop, I suppose, in writing my life, were gradually forming all this while.

Related Characters: David Copperfield (speaker), Mr. Micawber
Page Number: 150–151
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Chapter 57 Quotes

"I wish Mr. Micawber, if I make myself understood," said Mrs. Micawber, in her argumentative tone, "to be the Caesar of his own fortunes. That, my dear Mr. Copperfield, appears to me to be his true position. From the first moment of this voyage, I wish Mr. Micawber to stand upon that vessel's prow and say, 'Enough of delay: enough of disappointment: enough of limited means. That was in the old country. This is the new. Produce you reparation. Bring it forward!'"

Related Characters: Mrs. Micawber (speaker), David Copperfield, Mr. Micawber
Page Number: 673
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Micawber Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Micawber appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: I Begin Life on My Own Account, and Don't Like It
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On David's first day at work, Mr. Quinion introduces him to Mr. Micawber—David's new sublettor. Micawber is a "stoutish, middle-aged person" who speaks in an ornate and over-the-top... (full context)
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Mrs. Micawber shows David his room and laments the necessity of taking in lodgers, implying that she... (full context)
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One day, Mrs. Micawber approaches David and confesses that the family has run out of food, and David offers... (full context)
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David goes to visit Mr. Micawber in prison, and Micawber warns him not to mismanage his money as he himself has.... (full context)
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The Micawbers sell off the rest of their furniture, but this is still not enough to secure... (full context)
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Eventually, Mr. Micawber decides to apply for release under the "Insolvent Debtors Act." In the meantime, he drums... (full context)
Chapter 12: Liking Life on My Own Account No Better, I Form a Great Resolution
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Mr. Micawber successfully secures his release from prison, and while he celebrates with his fellow inmates, David... (full context)
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On the Sunday before they leave, Mr. Micawber and Mrs. Micawber have David over for dinner, and both thank him for being a... (full context)
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David says goodbye to the Micawbers as they board a coach the next morning, and Mr. Micawber reiterates that he hopes... (full context)
Chapter 17: Somebody Turns Up
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The conversation is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Mr. Micawber, who notices David while walking by the house and greets him enthusiastically. David is less... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber leads David to the inn where he and his family are staying, and then leaves... (full context)
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David feels sorry for the Micawbers but does not have any money to lend them. Mr. Micawber returns, apparently so despairing... (full context)
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The evening before David is scheduled to dine with the Micawbers, he happens to see Uriah and Mr. Micawber walking along the street together talking. This... (full context)
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Despite David's misgivings about Uriah, the dinner itself passes happily: David and the Micawbers drink, exchange compliments, and sing "Auld Lang Syne" together. David is therefore surprised when he... (full context)
Chapter 27: Tommy Traddles
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...lives in a neighborhood with an air of "faded gentility" that reminds David of Mr. Micawber. When he reaches Traddles' building, he finds a milkman harassing a servant girl for money... (full context)
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...circumstances, and eventually mentions that his downstairs neighbors (and landlords) are none other than the Micawbers. David begs Traddles to invite Mr. Micawber in, and Mr. Micawber appears, looking and acting... (full context)
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While they wait for Mrs. Micawber, Mr. Micawber asks David about Doctor Strong and reminisces about their last meeting in Canterbury.... (full context)
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Throughout Mr. Micawber's speech, David can hear Mrs. Micawber hastily washing up next door. When she finally comes... (full context)
Chapter 28: Mr. Micawber's Gauntlet
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...dine out for the following two weeks. He does, however, procure the ingredients for Mr. Micawber to make punch, which is a specialty of his. (full context)
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Mr. Micawber, Mrs. Micawber, and Traddles all arrive together and praise David's rooms. Mrs. Micawber is especially... (full context)
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...everyone is in such a good mood that David can't be too unhappy himself. Mr. Micawber reassures him that these kinds of domestic "accidents" happen, especially in households without a wife.... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber announces that the punch is ready and gives a speech. As everyone drinks, Mrs. Micawber... (full context)
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David reminds the Micawbers that advertising is expensive, and Mrs. Micawber replies that she has considered this and thinks... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber praises Mrs. Micawber's virtues before speaking at length about the joys of having children, despite... (full context)
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Sometime after ten at night, David's guests prepare to leave, Mr. Micawber slipping a letter to David as he does so. David, meanwhile, holds Traddles back and... (full context)
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..."benignant, gentle angel." Meanwhile, Steerforth teases David about having another dinner party and asks about Micawber, whom he crossed paths with in the street. David explains the Micawbers and their situation... (full context)
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...to his room and prepares for bed, at which point he finds and reads Mr. Micawber's letter. It was written shortly before dinner, and explains that Mr. Micawber is "Crushed," his... (full context)
Chapter 34: My Aunt Astonishes Me
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David is still anxious about Traddles's financial situation, so he asks after Mr. Micawber. Traddles explains that the he is no longer living with the Micawbers, because the entire... (full context)
Chapter 36: Enthusiasm
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...is sorted out, Traddles tells David that he has a letter for him from Mr. Micawber. In his typically wordy style, Micawber announces that he has managed to secure a job... (full context)
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The Micawbers are living in a very cramped and impoverished looking apartment. They are already packed to... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber says that his new position is in Canterbury. What's more, he will be working as... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber is then briefly distracted by his children's rowdy behavior, but the conversations soon resumes with... (full context)
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...the evening goes on, David explains his and Miss Betsey's problems to Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, who seem happy about the news. When they are close to finishing the punch, David... (full context)
Chapter 39: Wickfield and Heep
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When David reaches Mr. Wickfield's house, he finds Mr. Micawber at work downstairs. Micawber is pleased to see him, although he hints that he is... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber changes the subject, praising Agnes's "attractions, graces, and virtues" and saying that he would think... (full context)
Chapter 42: Mischief
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David describes a letter he received from Mrs. Micawber while the Wickfields were still visiting. In it, Mrs. Micawber reports that Mr. Micawber has... (full context)
Chapter 49: I Am Involved in Mystery
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One morning, David receives a letter from Mr. Micawber. In it, he explains that although he has not been able to keep in touch... (full context)
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...surprised when Traddles reveals that he has also received a letter—in his case, from Mrs. Micawber. They exchange letters, and David finds that Mrs. Micawber's involves Mr. Micawber's strange behavior: in... (full context)
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Traddles and David agree that the letters are not simply the Micawbers' usual exaggerations, but they can't figure out what is going on. They agree, however, that... (full context)
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David and Traddles arrive early to the meeting, and find Mr. Micawber already there, looking fondly at the prison. He greets them courteously, but David notices that... (full context)
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David, Traddles, and Mr. Micawber go for a walk, the latter saying that he wishes he had never taken up... (full context)
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After Mr. Micawber composes himself, David offers to take him back to Miss Betsey's to meet his aunt... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber continues to praise Mr. Dick, but David senses that there is something he wants to... (full context)
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David asks Mr. Micawber what's wrong, and Micawber replies that, "Villainy is the matter; baseness is the matter; deception,... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber then races out of the cottage, but sends a letter while David, Miss Betsey, Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 52: I Assist at an Explosion
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The meeting with Mr. Micawber approaches, and David and Miss Betsey discuss what they ought to do: Dora is very... (full context)
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...and Traddles set off together for Canterbury, and arrive that evening at the hotel Mr. Micawber has indicated. They are scheduled to meet Micawber for breakfast, but David goes out for... (full context)
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...to the inn and waits anxiously with Miss Betsey, Traddles, and Mr. Dick. When Mr. Micawber arrives, he refuses to eat anything and warns everyone that they will soon see "an... (full context)
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When they arrive at Wickfield and Heep's, David approaches Mr. Micawber at his desk and asks for Agnes, as Micawber had told him to do. Mr.... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber shows Agnes in, and David notices that she looks tired and nervous. He also notices... (full context)
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...providing this, but Traddles says that they should refer the issue of "fraud" to Mr. Micawber. Worried, Mrs. Heep tries to reason with Uriah, but he snaps at her to be... (full context)
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Uriah invites Mr. Micawber to say what he has to say, and Micawber—who has barely been able to restrain... (full context)
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David and Traddles restrain Mr. Micawber, and he resumes reading his letter, explaining that his financial difficulties quickly forced him to... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber begins to lay out his case against Uriah. His first "charge" is that Uriah took... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber's second charge is that Uriah also forged Mr. Wickfield's signature on various documents, including one... (full context)
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...Mrs. Heep and fixates on David as the cause of all his problems. Meanwhile, Mr. Micawber proceeds to his final charge, which is that Uriah has used both Mr. Wickfield's supposed... (full context)
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Micawber announces that he is now nearly finished, and simply needs to provide his evidence. He... (full context)
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...like the teachers at the charity school he attended, threatens to get revenge on Mr. Micawber, and leaves. (full context)
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Mr. Micawber announces that he can now reconcile with Mrs. Micawber and the rest of his family,... (full context)
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Miss Betsey is surprised at how large the Micawber family is, and asks what the eldest son is being trained to do. Mr. Micawber... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber says that he always wanted to emigrate (though David doubts he ever thought of it... (full context)
Chapter 54: Mr. Micawber's Transactions
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...He therefore returns to Canterbury with Miss Betsey and Agnes and goes directly to Mr. Micawber's, where Traddles is staying. (full context)
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Miss Betsey asks whether Mr. Micawber has thought more about Australia, and he says that his family is as good as... (full context)
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Mrs. Micawber explains that she has been busy communicating with her family: she suspects that their coldness... (full context)
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Mr. Micawber and Mrs. Micawber leave David, Agnes, and Miss Betsey alone with Traddles, who is sitting... (full context)
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...really managed to get all the money back from Uriah, and Traddles says that Mr. Micawber's thoroughness left Uriah no possible way of avoiding repayment. He also says that, according to... (full context)
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Miss Betsey changes the subject to Mr. Micawber, and Traddles reiterates how important his help was in catching Uriah. Miss Betsey asks how... (full context)
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Once they have settled how to pay Mr. Micawber, Traddles says there is one more "painful" topic he needs to address. He reminds Miss... (full context)
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Miss Betsey explains the financial arrangements they intend to make to help the Micawbers. Mr. Micawber is delighted, only to find himself once again threatened with arrest by a... (full context)
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The next day, David, Miss Betsey, and Agnes plan to return to London. The Micawbers will follow them as soon as Mr. Micawber sells off his possessions. David, Miss Betsy,... (full context)
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Inside the cottage, Miss Betsey and David find a letter from Mr. Micawber explaining that Uriah has called in another debt and that Micawber consequently expects to soon... (full context)
Chapter 57: The Emigrants
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...of Ham and Steerforth from little Em'ly and Mr. Peggotty. He does, however, tell Mr. Micawber what has happened so that he can help David by intercepting newspapers or other reports... (full context)
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David entrusts Mr. Micawber with this task while he and his family are staying in a public-house, just before... (full context)
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A boy arrives saying that someone wishes to see Mr. Micawber, and Mrs. Micawber says she expects it is a member of her family. Mr. Micawber... (full context)
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Mrs. Micawber promises Miss Betsey and David she will write from aboard ship, if she is able... (full context)
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Mrs. Micawber says she hopes that her descendants might one day return to England, but Mr. Micawber... (full context)
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Miss Betsey drinks to Mr. Micawber's words, and Mr. Peggotty and the Micawbers then toast the whole group. David is struck... (full context)
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David returns to the public-house the next morning and finds that the Micawbers have already left. The following afternoon, however, he and Peggotty go to visit the emigrants... (full context)
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...Peggotty, who is crying, back up to the deck. There, they say goodbye to Mrs. Micawber, who insists one final time that she will never leave Mr. Micawber. Peggotty and David... (full context)
Chapter 60: Agnes
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...catching up. Mr. Peggotty and his family are apparently doing well in Australia, and Mr. Micawber has actually managed to send back some payments towards his debts. Mr. Dick, meanwhile, continues... (full context)
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...day and lingers outside Mr. Wickfield's house, looking at the office where Uriah and Mr. Micawber used to work. That room is now a parlor, but the house is otherwise unchanged,... (full context)
Chapter 63: A Visitor
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Finally, David asks about Mr. Micawber, and Mr. Peggotty says has paid off all his debts. Mr. Peggotty explains that both... (full context)
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...come to London to see him, and they all have many more chats about Mr. Micawber and the other settlers. Shortly before Mr. Peggotty leaves, he and David visit Ham's grave... (full context)