The Claim of Value

In the development of any exceptional novel, the methods and techniques of the antagonist are decisive in the overall evolution of the story. Through their conscious efforts to be against standard moral agreements, they become immoral. The goal of the antagonist is to morally destruct any person they deem to be morally good in order to establish their personal dominance. In the novel Oliver Twist, the main antagonist Bill Sikes is a grotesque, demeaning villian who searches to eradicate any person on his path of destruction.

In the novel Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes is a disturbingly accomplished villain who takes advantage of the vulnerable through physical violence and destructive psychological tactics to establish his destructive immorality. Sikes relishes in taking advantage of the vulnerable. Consequently, his dog, Bull’s-eye is the perfect victim. Throughout the novel, it undoubtedly becomes known that Bull’s-eye is a symbolic shadow of Sikes.

The animals malevolence represents the beast-like temperament Sikes possess. Although covered with bruises and scars from physical abuse, the animal continuously stays beside Sikes regularly.

The animal has become so greatly accustomed to Sikes abusive tendencies, he has essentially merged to be his sidekick. Consequently, Bull’s-eye is willing to go to any extent to defend Sikes at all costs. In a particular occurrence, Bull’s-eye’s hostile behavior is especially undeniable. Following the arrest of Oliver Twist, Oliver is taken to live with a rich man, Mr. Brownlow. Twist is sent on orders to complete an errand for Mr. Brownlow in the city, when he is captured by Sikes companion, Nancy.

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After successfully kidnapping Twist, Sikes and Nancy return to their shack. Upon their entrance, Sikes yells loudly for Bull’s-eye to come attack Twist for the trouble he caused for the gang.

“ ‘Here, Bull’s-eye!’ The dog looked up, and growled. ‘See here, boy!’ Said Sikes, putting his other hand to Oliver’s throat, and uttering a savage oath; ‘if he speaks ever so soft a word, hold him! Dy’e mind?’ The dog growled again, and, licking his lips, eyed Oliver as if he were anxious to attach himself to his windpipe without any unnecessary delay.” (Dickens 124. All future references, to this edition.) Though Bull’s-eye is nothing but loyal to Sikes throughout the entirety of the novel, Sikes continuously abuses and takes advantage of him. Within the closure of Oliver Twist, we begin to see that Sikes recognizes that Bull’s-eye has become an undeniable shadow of his wickedness. After murdering his girlfriend, Nancy, Bull’s-eye is utterly terrified of Sikes but continues to follow despite his hesitation. Sikes, zombified by the crime he just committed, becomes psychologically distraught and desires to destroy everything and everyone around him.

He begins to stumble almost drunkenly around town and leads Bull’s eye to a deep pond. We witness Sikes tying together a boulder and a rope in pursuit of murdering Bull’s-eye. This scene is especially meaningful in its symbolism of Sikes coming to the realization of the monster he has created in himself. In the numerous victims Sikes mentally and physically abuses, his girlfriend, Nancy, may be the most momentous casualty. Nancy was abducted by the group of thieves at the young age of five, and has been forced into prostitution ever since. Now at the age of approximately sixteen, Nancy still is a functioning prostitute. Considering she has essentially given up on her freedom, she is extremely vulnerable and conforms to the reign of the gang. Sikes, of course, fuels upon the vulnerable making Nancy his perfect target. In any particular instance of Nancy trying to stick up for herself, or the little beloved boy Oliver, she gets belittled and makes no progress.

For instance, after sticking up for Oliver in his attempt to run away, Sikes bullies and oppresses Nancy until she became defeated. “Mr. Sikes thus mutely appealed to, and possibly feeling his personal pride and influence interested in the immediate reduction of Miss Nancy to reason, gave utterance to about a couple of score of curses and threats, the rapid delivery of which reflected great credit on the fertility of his invention. (132.) After continuously cursing and threatening Nancy, Sikes manages to cut the deepest in his words. “Do you know who you are? And what you are?” (132.) Sikes, in these words, unquestionably demolishes Nancy and makes her feel defeated. Similar to Bull’s-eye, however, Nancy has a unwavering loyalty to sikes despite his abusive tendencies. Nancy is shown to recognize this herself. In a conversation between Rose Maylie and Nancy, Rose tries to convince Nancy to leave Sikes. Nancy discloses a very disheartening reply.

“I don’t know what it is, I only know that it is so, and not with me alone, but with hundreds of others as bad and wretched as myself. I must go back. Whether it is God’s wrath for the wrong that I have done, I do not know; but I am drawn back to him through every suffering and ill usage, and should be, I believe, if I knew that I was to die by his hand at last.” (337.) Ironically and depressingly, Nancy does get murdered by the hand of Sikes. Even in the last moments of fighting Sikes for her life, Nancy still admits that she loves him. Despite being physically and mentally abused for years, Nancy still is loyal and pleads for his mercy to feel the same. This confirms that Sikes genuinely has a bitter heart and carries it with him to his death.

Through the destructive tendencies Sikes exhibits, it becomes undoubtedly known that he is a ghastly terrifying monster that will invariably be a part of him. He takes his evil attitudes with him all the way to his grave. As a result of his immorality, Sikes will eternally be one of the most tremendous villains in history. In the novel Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes is a disturbingly accomplished villain who takes advantage of the vulnerable through physical violence and destructive psychological tactics to establish his destructive immorality.

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The Claim of Value. (2022, May 01). Retrieved from

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