Having come across the playbill for Mr. Wopsle's production of Hamlet in his pocket, Pip and Herbert go that night to see the play. The production is ridiculously bad, with incompetent actors and a jeering audience. Mr. Wopsle plays Hamlet ineptly.
The play Hamlet investigates similar themes as those explored in this novel: parentage, revenge, and justice.
Pip and Herbert try to duck out after without seeing Mr. Wopsle, but he spots them and requests that they come backstage. Pip is surprised to find Mr. Wopsle proudly dignified and oblivious to the low caliber of his own performance. Pitying him, Pip invites Mr. Wopsle to dinner where Mr. Wopsle spends the night reveling in his ambitions and perceived success.
Mr. Wopsle is convinced that his career change has improved his life dramatically, yet the reader can see that he may have been better off living as a church clerk in the village. Pip is shocked at Wopsle's self-delusion, but the reader can see that Pip is similarly self-delusional. Pip is also acting, he's just acting the part of a gentleman.