Lady Windermere’s Fan


Oscar Wilde

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Lady Windermere’s Fan can help.
Dumby is another young gentleman who attends the party. He’s first introduced as an example of how empty and performative language can be in social settings. He makes a number of contradictory statements in conversations with different guests, and seems perfectly comfortable doing so. It’s also implied that Dumby is Lady Plymdale’s lover and possibly Mrs. Erlynne’s as well; he initially tells Lady Plymdale that he doesn’t know who Mrs. Erlynne is, only to have Mrs. Erlynne reveal that he visits her often. In the third act, Dumby is a comedic foil to Cecil Graham and Augustus, behaving in a carefree, cheerfully naïve way that the other men sometimes mock.

Dumby Quotes in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The Lady Windermere’s Fan quotes below are all either spoken by Dumby or refer to Dumby . 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 II Quotes

DUMBY: What a mystery you are!

LADY PLYMDALE: (looking at him) I wish you were!

DUMBY: I am—to myself. I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly; but I don’t see any chance of it just at present.

Related Characters: Dumby (speaker), Lady Plymdale (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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: 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:
Get the entire Lady Windermere’s Fan LitChart as a printable PDF.
Lady Windermere’s Fan PDF

Dumby Character Timeline in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Dumby appears in Lady Windermere’s Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act II
Language and Truth Theme Icon
A guest named Dumby banters with several other guests, suggesting first that the ball will be the last of... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
...his aunt, Lady Jedburgh. Cecil hesitantly agrees, and Mrs. Erlynne immediately charms Lady Jedburgh. Meanwhile, Dumby and Lady Plymdale gossip about who Mrs. Erlynne might be. (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...telling Augustus that she would much rather dance with him. In passing, she also greets Dumby and apologizes for missing his recent visits. Lady Plymdale is affronted that Dumby knows Mrs.... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon which point Mrs. Erlynne also hides in another room. Lord Darlington, Lord Windermere, Augustus, Dumby, and Cecil Graham all enter together. (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...which makes it tedious. Lord Windermere and Augustus both decline to play cards, which makes Dumby comment that marriage “ruins a man.” For his part, Cecil thinks that there’s no point... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...return. Cecil comments that he knows more good women than he would like to, while Dumby wonders aloud whether Darlington can go on loving someone who doesn’t love him in return.... (full context)