Lady Windermere’s Fan

by

Oscar Wilde

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Cecil Graham Character Analysis

Cecil Graham is a young gentleman who attends the party and seems to be a friend of Lord Windermere and the other men. Cecil is also the nephew of Lady Jedburgh, to whom he introduces Mrs. Erlynne at the party. He is portrayed as a lighthearted troublemaker; he frequently teases Augustus and unhesitatingly calls Lord Darlington out for hiding a woman in his rooms. Cecil also seems to be somewhat cynical; he makes light of the distinction between good and evil and implies that it doesn’t much matter which side a person ends up on.

Cecil Graham Quotes in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The Lady Windermere’s Fan quotes below are all either spoken by Cecil Graham or refer to Cecil Graham. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Lady Windermere’s Fan published in 2008.
Act III Quotes

LORD AUGUSTUS: You want to make her out a wicked woman. She is not!

CECIL GRAHAM: Oh! Wicked women bother one. Good women bore one. That is the only difference between them.

LORD AUGUSTUS: (puffing a cigar) Mrs. Erlynne has a future before her.

DUMBY: Mrs. Erlynne has a past before her.

LORD AUGUSTUS: I prefer women with a past. They’re always so demmed amusing to talk to.

Related Characters: Augustus (speaker), Cecil Graham (speaker), Dumby (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

CECIL GRAHAM: Now, my dear Tuppy, don’t be led astray into the paths of virtue. Reformed, you would be perfectly tedious. That is the worst of women. They always want one to be good. And if we are good, when they meet us, they don’t love us at all. They like to find us quite irretrievably bad, and to leave us quite unattractively good.

Related Characters: Cecil Graham (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne, Augustus
Page Number: 43-44
Explanation and Analysis:

CECIL GRAHAM: That is a great error. Experience is a question of instinct about life. I have got it. Tuppy hasn’t. Experience is the name Tuppy gives to his mistakes. That is all. (Lord Augustus looks around indignantly)

DUMBY: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

CECIL GRAHAM: (standing with his back to the fireplace) One shouldn’t commit any.

Related Characters: Cecil Graham (speaker), Dumby (speaker), Augustus
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cecil Graham Character Timeline in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Cecil Graham appears in Lady Windermere’s Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act II
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Cecil Graham enters, saying that he’s exhausted from having dinner with his family. He teases Augustus... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
...Erlynne stops Lady Windermere to compliment her on the beautiful party. Then, Mrs. Erlynne asks Cecil Graham to introduce her to his aunt, Lady Jedburgh. Cecil hesitantly agrees, and Mrs. Erlynne... (full context)
Act III
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...point Mrs. Erlynne also hides in another room. Lord Darlington, Lord Windermere, Augustus, Dumby, and Cecil Graham all enter together. (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...long. Augustus replies that Windermere must stay because there’s still so much to talk about. Cecil Graham teases that of course Augustus only wants to talk about Mrs. Erlynne. Lord Windermere... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Lord Darlington comments that he doesn’t much like Mrs. Erlynne, and Cecil says that he likes her much more now than he did before the party. Darlington... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Windermere scolds the other men for their talk of scandal, though Cecil maintains that he only talks “gossip” and not “scandal” because scandal involves morality, which makes... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...he loves is “a good woman” who is “not free” to love him in return. Cecil comments that he knows more good women than he would like to, while Dumby wonders... (full context)
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Cecil catches sight of Lady Windermere’s fan lying on the sofa and slyly asks Lord Darlington... (full context)