Women and Power in Victorian England
The Victorian ideal of the perfect woman was one who was pretty but modest, who made a socially advantageous marriage but was not ambitious, and who submitted to her husband in all matters. At the beginning of Lady Audley’s Secret, Elizabeth Braddon’s 19th century novel of romance, bigamy, and murder, Lady Audley appears to fit into this model perfectly. As her many secrets are revealed, however, it becomes clear that Lady Audley subverts and…read analysis of Women and Power in Victorian England
Appearances and Deception
The fact that Lady Audley uses her distinctly feminine appearance to fool the community surrounding Audley Court is one of many elements of deception in Lady Audley’s Secret. Braddon uses such rampant deception to emphasize the foolishness of trusting in appearances alone. In highlighting how drastically most characters misjudge Lady Audley, the novel suggests the specific danger of underestimating one’s capacity for treachery based on beauty.
The most obvious deception in the novel is…read analysis of Appearances and Deception
Because those living during the Victorian era did not fully understand mental illness, its symptoms were often classified as incurable, unmanageable madness stemming from moral deviancy and an inability to conform to society. With no stringent criteria for diagnosing “madness,” baseless accusations could lead to institutionalization with relative ease. Such mis-categorizations cause lasting negative effects for the characters of Lady Audley’s Secret, even as accusations of madness, made by both Robert and Lady Audley…read analysis of Madness