Perspective example: Antagonist Comparison in Great Expectations
As a child, Compeyson was spoiled rotten by his mother. His father never had a say in how he was raised, and every time he tried to discipline him, he was rebuked by Compeyson's mother. When Compeyson was 18, his mother died. His father, resentful of the type of man his son was turning out to be, wrote Compeyson out of his will. When he died of the flu a few years later, Compeyson was left penniless at 21 years old.
Compeyson was well-educated and well-groomed, so he was easily able to hide his sinister intentions from others in his social sphere. While doing a stint in prison for check fraud, he met young Arthur Havisham. Arthur's father had recently died, leaving the majority of his wealth and the greatest stake in his brewery to his daughter from his first marriage. Arthur, the son of his father's second wife who was a cook, was always treated as less than his sister, and is deeply resentful. The two devise a plan to swindle Miss Havisham out of a significant portion of her money.
Compeyson devises a plan that will certainly make them both rich: he would use his gentlemanly charms to woo Arthur's sister into marrying him. Before the wedding, he would convince her to buy out Arthur's stake in the brewery at an exorbitant price, with the understanding that Compeyson would run it full time and make other investments. The morning of the wedding, Compeyson sends a letter to Miss Havisham informing her that he won't be coming, and he and Arthur take off with the money. Arthur begins to have delusions that Miss Havisham is haunting him. His mental health deteriorates, and Compeyson knows he needs to find a new partner. He meets a man named Abel Magwitch, and the two become partners in elaborate fraud schemes.
When the two are caught, Compeyson uses his gentlemanly demeanor to pin most of the blame on Magwitch, and sways the jury into giving him a lighter sentence. Magwitch plans revenge. After they are released, Compeyson believes Magwitch will break his exile to Australia. Through the grapevine, Compeyson learns that Magwitch is in London and using the pseudonym Provis. He follows the boy, named Pip, and discovers that they are planning to leave the country by boat. Compeyson goes to the customs police and informs them of the plan. They follow Pip and Provis down the Thames and meet them while they are waiting to board a ferry. Magwitch reaches over and tears the blanket off of Compeyson, and the two men fall off of their boats into the water.
Compeyson and Magwitch are engaged in a brutal struggle in the icy waters. Meanwhile, the ferry boats are coming ahead full-steam. Magwitch places his arm around Compeyson's throat, squeezing him violently. Suddenly, Magwitch lets go and strikes away from Compeyson back to the surface, but it's too late-- Compeyson loses his battle with the water and drowns.
A few days later, Compeyson's body is discovered in the waters, along with the fruits of his spying: he had successfully obtained a list of some of Magwitch's lands and money, and hoped to gain a fortune by turning Magwitch in. This scheme, however, proved to be his last. And in the end, the government seizes all of Magwitch's fortune anyways.