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Fagin

From Academic Kids

Fagin is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. He is the leader of a group of children, the Artful Dodger among them, whom he teaches to make their livings by pickpocketing and other criminal activities. Bill Sikes, the major villain of the novel, is one of Fagin's old pupils.

Arguably the definitive portrayal of Fagin, among the many stage and screen adaptations of the novel, is Alec Guinness' performance in the 1948 film version directed by David Lean. Ron Moody's portrayal in the musical Oliver!, another memorable version, is recognisably influenced by Guinness' portrayal.

The renowned comic book creator, Will Eisner, disturbed by the anti-semitism in the typical depiction of the character, created a graphic novel in 2003 titled Fagin the Jew. In this book, the back story of the character and events of Oliver Twist are depicted from his point of view.

Although he always denied that Fagin was an anti-semitic portrayal of jewry, Dickens later created a much more sympathetically drawn Jewish character, that of Mr. Riah in Our Mutual Friend.

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