Who is Oliver’s mother and family?

For most of his life, Oliver was under the impression that his mother was likely a poor, nameless woman who had given birth to him at the workhouse out of desperation, because she had no where else to go. But at the end of the novel, he learns that this is not entirely the case. Oliver’s mother was named Agnes Fleming, and she was the unwed lover of Oliver’s father, Edwin Leeford. Agnes was the young and beautiful daughter of one of Edwin’s friends, Captain Fleming, and Edwin falls in love with her during a stretch of time living with the Fleming family. Agnes becomes pregnant by Edwin, but before they can marry, Edwin is called away to Italy to settle family business. He falls ill and dies in Italy before he can legitimize Oliver, who is born a bastard. Additionally, Edwin’s malicious estranged wife and son, Edward Leeford (Monks), plot to keep the truth of Oliver’s heritage a secret, destroying Edwin’s will out of spite to stop Oliver from obtaining his inheritance.

Agnes, disowned by her own family due to her illegitimate pregnancy, finds herself on the streets and forced to give birth at the poorhouse, where she dies before she can securely pass down to Oliver any information about his familial history. However, through a happy coincidence, it happens that Mr. Brownlow was good friends with Edwin Leeford. Before Edwin died, he gave Mr. Brownlow a portrait of his wife-to-be, Agnes. After Edwin’s death, Mr. Brownlow does not have sufficient information to track down Agnes, but he keeps the portrait hanging in his house. When Oliver arrives at the Brownlow’s, Oliver becomes enamored with the portrait, not yet knowing that it depicts his own mother. Similarly, Mr. Brownlow feels there’s something reminiscent about Oliver’s face, not yet realizing that he recognizes the boy because he is the son of Mr. Brownlow’s friend as well as the mysterious woman in the portrait. Once Nancy gives Mr. Brownlow a description of Monks, Mr. Brownlow immediately recognizes him as Edward Leeford and is able to get ahold of the good-for-nothing young man to give a detailed account of Oliver’s parentage and family history. Another twist of fate reveals the orphaned Rose Maylie to be the long-lost younger sister of Agnes, and therefore Oliver’s aunt.

What happens to Nancy?

When Oliver first escapes Fagin and his band of thieves, Nancy is sent to steal him back from Mr. Brownlow and return him to Fagin. Nancy immediately seems to regret her part in removing Oliver from his new and better life. She’s already miserable in her own station as a poverty-stricken prostitute, physically controlled by Sikes and manipulated by Fagin, and she sympathizes with Oliver, who has the chance to escape the gang and lead a happier existence. As the novel progresses, Nancy becomes increasingly hopeless about her own future, which causes her to take risky actions in Oliver’s favor. She overhears Fagin and Monks’ plan to recapture Oliver and eventually have the boy caught by law enforcement and executed. Nancy brings this information to Rose Maylie, allowing Rose precious time to concoct a plan to protect Oliver. She later meets with Mr. Brownlow and Rose, giving them more vital intel about Oliver’s circumstances and the identity of Monks.

Although Rose begs Nancy to go with them to safety, Nancy refuses, citing that she can’t leave her lover Bill alone, despite his violent nature, and that it’s too late for her to be redeemed of her sinful life. Nancy feels certain that she will die soon, potentially by her own hand or some other way. Sadly, she is not mistaken. Fagin, thinking that Nancy has found a new, secret lover, has had her followed by his latest recruit, Noah Claypole. Noah overhears Nancy’s conversation with Rose and Mr. Brownlow, and tells Fagin that Nancy has betrayed him. Fagin is so enraged that he purposefully riles Bill Sikes to anger and then tells Bill of Nancy’s indiscretion, knowing that Bill will turn to violence. Bill returns home, where Nancy is waiting for him, and beats her. He then attempts to shoot her, but the bullet only grazes her in the forehead, causing her to bleed profusely but not killing her. Finally, Bill takes up a club and beats Nancy to death. Nancy gives her life to save Oliver, making her death equally tragic and noble.

Who is Monks?

Throughout much of the novel, Monks is a mysterious young man who appears at Fagin’s house from time to time. He’s not a consistent member of Fagin’s gang or inner circle, but it’s clear that the business he’s discussing with Fagin is criminal. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that Monks is involved with Fagin’s attempts to track and recapture Oliver, but his motives for doing so are unclear. Readers are not made privy to the details of Monks’ relationship with Fagin, and his presence in the novel remains mysterious until he reveals himself to Mr. and Mrs. Bumble.

Monks tracks down the Bumbles to question them on how much is known about Oliver’s parentage. He pays Mrs. Bumble for her information on the dying request of Oliver’s mother, which was to pass down to Oliver a locket bearing her name. Mrs. Bumble, who has recently come into possession of that very locket after the death of a serving woman who was present at Oliver’s childbirth, and who stole the locket rather than giving it to Oliver, gives Monks the locket. During this conversation, Monks expresses his distaste for Oliver and exposes his secret: Oliver is his brother. This information is not expanded on until later in the novel, when, having gathered more intel on Monks from Nancy, Mr. Brownlow captures Monks. Vowing not to give him up to the police for his crimes if Monks agrees to speak truthfully, Mr. Brownlow succeeds in convincing Monks to tell the story of his connection to Oliver. Monks reveals that he is Oliver’s half-brother, and that his real name is Edward Leeford. Oliver’s father, Edwin Leeford, did not have a good relationship with Monks’ mother, and Monks was a difficult child, so the family was estranged. Under the influence of his mother, Monks grew to hate his father. Upon Edwin’s death, Monks and his mother discovered Edwin’s will, which included Oliver and Edwin’s new soon-to-be wife, Agnes. Monks and his mother destroyed the will, assuming that Agnes would die before she could give birth. Many years later, Monks’ mother reveals her hunch that Agnes and her son may have lived, so Monks, still hateful, vows to track Oliver down and ruin his life so that there is no chance of Oliver receiving his rightful inheritance.

What happens to Bill Sikes?

When Fagin discovers that Nancy has been spreading sensitive information about Fagin’s plans for Oliver to none other than Mr. Brownlow and Rose Maylie, he knows that his plans have been destroyed and that law enforcement will soon be on his tail. Enraged at Nancy’s betrayal, Fagin wants Nancy destroyed, but rarely, if ever, commits crimes himself. Instead, Fagin excites Bill Sikes to rage over the news of an informant in their midst, leading Bill to promise that he would murder the informant, then finally landing the final blow that Nancy is the traitor. Bill and Fagin agree that Nancy must be killed, but Fagin warns Bill to be careful in his actions so that the death cannot be traced back to them.

When Bill returns to his house where Nancy waits for him, he immediately confronts her for her betrayal. She pleads with him to take up Rose Maylie on her offer to get Nancy safely out of London, telling Bill that they can both start a new life. While Bill is moved by her pleas, his rage prevails. He beats Nancy, attempts to shoot her, and eventually murders her with a club. The death is brutal and bloody – it is not the careful killing that Fagin suggested. Bill is horrified by Nancy’s corpse, and rather than attempt to dispose of the body, leaves it in his house and escapes with his dog. He spends some time on the run, but is haunted by what he’s done, seeing Nancy’s ghost everywhere he turns. Slowly growing mad with guilt and paranoia, Bill returns to London, hoping to find refuge with his criminal friends. But Bill’s former peers are disturbed by the murder of Nancy, and young Charley Bates gives up his hiding place to the police. In an attempt to escape, Bill climbs up to the roof just as the police and a mob of onlookers are coming through the front door. Hoping to lower himself from the roof to the street on the backside of the house, Bill ties a rope to the chimney and begins to fashion a loop and knot in the rope. His idea is to tie the rope around his waist so that he can lower himself to the ground. But just as he slips the rope over his head, where it rests around his neck, he suddenly believes that he sees Nancy’s eyes watching him. Horrified, he loses his balance on the roof and falls. The rope tightens around his neck, and he accidentally hangs himself. His dog, who has followed him to the roof, is distraught, and in an attempt to get to its master, jumps off the roof and meets its own grisly end on the ground below.

What happens to Fagin?

After Nancy informs Rose Maylie and Mr. Brownlow of Fagin and Monks’ plans, Bill Sikes and Fagin decide that Nancy must be killed for her betrayal. But word of the woman’s murder gets out, and Rose Maylie and Mr. Brownlow go to the police with information on Fagin’s crime ring. Bill and Fagin, along with other members of the gang, become wanted men. While Bill accidentally kills himself attempting to escape law enforcement, Fagin is ultimately captured and taken to prison. He undergoes a criminal trial, where he is found guilty of a long list of crimes and is sentenced to death by hanging.

One of the concluding chapters of the novel follows Fagin as he reflects on his circumstances, increasingly losing his sanity as the date of his execution draws nearer. Fagin’s final chapter displays that, despite everything, he cannot take responsibility for his actions and sees himself as a victim. Mr. Brownlow and Oliver visit Fagin in jail to provide Oliver with closure, and while Oliver, ever forgiving, begs Fagin to pray and repent before his death day, Fagin is frenzied and confused, focused only on convincing Oliver to help him escape. The story of Oliver Twist’s antagonist ends in delusion and madness. While the reader may not feel sympathetic toward Fagin and his gruesome fate, Fagin’s final chapter draws a powerful and psychologically astute portrait of a fearful, twisted mind struggling to come to terms with impending death. On the morning of Fagin’s execution, the chapter concludes with the haunting image of the gallows and the gathering crowd. Although it’s not described on the page, Fagin is ultimately hung for his crimes.