Lady Windermere’s Fan

by

Oscar Wilde

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Lady Windermere’s Fan can help.

Lord Windermere Character Analysis

Lord Windermere is Lady Windermere’s husband. He is a wealthy and respectable gentleman who seems to be well-liked, and he treats his wife lovingly. However, he deceives her when he begins financially supporting Mrs. Erlynne, even though he does so out of love for Lady Windermere. Lord Windermere knows that Mrs. Erlynne is actually Lady Windermere’s mother, and he believes that Lady Windermere would want her beloved mother to be happy and socially respectable if she knew the truth. At the start of the play, he has a more nuanced view of morality than his wife does, since he believes that Mrs. Erlynne deserves a second chance despite her past mistakes. However, he becomes more convinced of her wickedness throughout, Mrs. Erlynne’s ruthless (and successful) attempts to manipulate him become infuriating to him, while her appearance in Lord Darlington’s rooms suggests that she’s having an affair with him and convinces Lord Windermere that she’s just as wicked as her reputations indicates. (Unbeknownst to Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne only went to Lord Darlington’s quarters to keep Lady Windermere from foolishly running away with him.) Throughout the play, Lord Windermere seems to try consistently to behave morally, but his attempts often lead to confusion and misunderstanding. It’s also notable that he gives Lady Windermere her fan, and his devotion to treating her as a model of conventional femininity is part of what leads to trouble in their marriage.

Lord Windermere Quotes in Lady Windermere’s Fan

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

LADY WINDERMERE: It is very kind of you, Duchess, to come and tell me all this. But I can’t believe that my husband is untrue to me.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK: Pretty child! I was like that once. Now I know that all men are monsters. (Lady Windermere rings bell) The only thing to do is feed the wretches well. A good cook does wonders, and that I know you have. My dear Margaret, you are not going to cry?

LADY WINDERMERE: You needn’t be afraid, Duchess, I never cry.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK: That’s quite right, dear. Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), The Duchess of Berwick (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

LADY WINDERMERE: I did not spy on you. I never knew of this woman’s existence till half an hour ago. Someone who pitied me was kind enough to tell me what everyone in London knows already—your daily visits to Curzon Street, your mad infatuation, the monstrous sums of money you squander on this infamous woman! (Crossing L.)

LORD WINDERMERE: Margaret! don’t talk like that of Mrs. Erlynne, you don’t know how unjust it is!

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 16-17
Explanation and Analysis:

LORD WINDERMERE: Ah, Margaret, do this for my sake; it is her last chance.

LADY WINDERMERE: What has that to do with me?

LORD WINDERMERE: How hard good women are!

LADY WINDERMERE: How weak bad men are!

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

LADY WINDERMERE: There is not a good woman in London who would not applaud me. We have been too lax. We must make an example, I propose to begin tonight. (Picking up fan) Yes, you gave me this fan today; it was your birthday present. If that woman crosses my threshold, I shall strike her across the face with it. (Rings bell)

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Related Symbols: Lady Windermere’s Fan
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Act II Quotes

LORD AUGUSTUS: (coming up to Lord Windermere) Want to speak to you particularly, dear boy. I’m worn to a shadow. Know I don’t look it. None of us men do look what we really are. Demmed good thing, too. What I want to know is this. Who is she? Where does she come from? Why hasn’t she got any demmed relations? Demmed nuisance, relations! But they make one so demmed respectable.

Related Characters: Augustus (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

LORD WINDERMERE: I am afraid—if you will excuse me—I must join my wife.

LADY PLYMDALE: Oh, you mustn’t dream of such a thing. It’s most dangerous nowadays for a husband to pay any attention to his wife in public. It always makes people think that he beats her when they’re alone. The world has grown so suspicious of anything that looks like a happy married life.

Related Characters: Lord Windermere (speaker), Lady Plymdale (speaker), Lady Windermere
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

LADY WINDERMERE: (C.) London is full of women who trust their husbands. One can always recognize them. They look so thoroughly unhappy. I am not going to be one of them. (Moves up) Lord Darlington, will you give me back my fan, please? Thanks…A useful thing a fan, isn’t it?…I want a friend tonight, Lord Darlington: I didn’t know I would want one so soon.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere, Lord Darlington
Related Symbols: Lady Windermere’s Fan
Page Number: 24-25
Explanation and Analysis:

LORD DARLINGTON: Wrong? What is wrong? It’s wrong for a man to abandon his wife for a shameless woman. It is wrong for a wife to remain with a man who so dishonours her. You said once you would make no compromise with things. Make none now. Be brave! Be yourself!

LADY WINDERMERE: I am afraid of being myself. Let me think. Let me wait! My husband may return to me. (Sits down on sofa)

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Darlington (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS. ERLYNNE: (laughing) Then we will talk of it on the terrace. Even business should have a picturesque background. Should it not, Windermere? With a proper background women can do anything.

Related Characters: Mrs. Erlynne (speaker), Lord Windermere, Augustus
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Act III Quotes

LADY WINDERMERE: I must go back—no; I can’t go back, my letter has put me in their power—Arthur would not take me back! That fatal letter! No! Lord Darlington leaves England tomorrow. I will go with him—I have no choice.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere, Lord Darlington
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

LADY WINDERMERE: Go back to my husband, Mrs. Erlynne. He belongs to you and not to me. I suppose he is afraid of a scandal. Men are such cowards. They outrage every law of the world, and are afraid of the world’s tongue. But he had better prepare himself. He shall have a scandal. He shall have the worst scandal there has been in London for years. He shall see his name in every vile paper, mine on every hideous placard.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS. ERLYNNE: […] Back to your house, Lady Windermere—your husband loves you! He has never swerved for a moment from the love he bears you. But even if he had a thousand loves, you must stay with your child. If he was harsh to you, you must stay with your child. If he ill-treated you, you must stay with your child. If he abandoned you, your place is with your child.

Related Characters: Mrs. Erlynne (speaker), Lady Windermere, Lord Windermere
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Act IV Quotes

LADY WINDERMERE: […] Perhaps she told them the true reason of her being there, and the real meaning of that—fatal fan of mine. Oh, if he knows—how can I look him in the face again? He would never forgive me. (Touches bell) How securely one thinks one lives—out of reach of temptation, sin, folly. And then suddenly—Oh! Life is terrible. It rules us, we do not rule it.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere, Mrs. Erlynne
Related Symbols: Lady Windermere’s Fan
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

LORD WINDERMERE: I wish that at the same time she would give you a miniature she kisses every night before she prays—It’s the miniature of a young innocent-looking girl with beautiful dark hair.

MRS. ERLYNNE: Ah yes, I remember. How long ago that seems. (Goes to a sofa and sits down) It was done before I was married. Dark hair and an innocent expression were the fashion then, Windermere!

Related Characters: Lord Windermere (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne (speaker), Lady Windermere
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS. ERLYNNE: (rising) I suppose, Windermere, you would like me to retire into a convent, or become a hospital nurse, or something of that kind, as people do in silly modern novels. That is stupid of you, Arthur; in real life we don’t do such things—not so long as we have any good looks left, at any rate. No—what consoles one now is not repentance, but pleasure. Repentance is quite out of date. And besides, if a woman really repents, she has to go to a bad dressmaker, otherwise no one believes her. And nothing in the world will induce me to do that.

Related Characters: Mrs. Erlynne (speaker), Lord Windermere
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS. ERLYNNE: Yes. (Pause) You are devoted to your mother’s memory, Lady Windermere, your husband tells me.

LADY WINDERMERE: We all have ideals in life. At least we all should. Mine is my mother.

MRS. ERLYNNE: Ideals are dangerous things. Realities are better. They wound, but they’re better.

LADY WINDERMERE: (shaking her head) If I lost my ideals, I should lose everything.

MRS. ERLYNNE: Everything?

LADY WINDERMERE: Yes.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne (speaker), Lord Windermere
Related Symbols: The Miniature
Page Number: 55-56
Explanation and Analysis:

LORD WINDERMERE: (gravely) She is better than one thought her.

LADY WINDERMERE: She is better than I am.

LORD WINDERMERE: (smiling as he strokes her hair) Child, you and she belong to different worlds. Into your world evil has never entered.

LADY WINDERMERE: Don’t say that, Arthur. There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand. To shut one’s eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice.

Related Characters: Lady Windermere (speaker), Lord Windermere (speaker), Mrs. Erlynne
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Lady Windermere’s Fan LitChart as a printable PDF.
Lady Windermere’s Fan PDF

Lord Windermere Character Timeline in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Windermere appears in Lady Windermere’s Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act I
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...roses and preparing for a party that evening. Her butler, Parker, arrives to announce that Lord Darlington has come to visit her. She tells Parker that she will accept his visit... (full context)
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Darlington enters and tells Lady Windermere how beautiful her fan is. She thanks him and... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Lady Windermere scolds Lord Darlington for having praised her too much at a gathering the night before. He confesses... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lord Darlington goes on to ask Lady Windermere to be “great friends” with him. She agrees... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Darlington considers Lady Windermere’s words and asks if, hypothetically, it would be wrong for a... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...announces the arrival of the Duchess of Berwick and her daughter, Agatha. The Duchess greets Lord Darlington and tells him that he is “far too wicked” to talk to Agatha. The... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
After Lord Darlington leaves, the Duchess of Berwick remarks that she both likes him and feels glad... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
The Duchess of Berwick informs Lady Windermere that her husband, Lord Windermere, has been seen spending lots of time at the home of a scandalous woman... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lady Windermere says again that it’s impossible: she and Lord Windermere love each other, have only been married for two years, and have a six-month-old... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Alone, Lady Windermere reflects that now she understands what Lord Darlington’s hypothetical situation was really about. She says again that the rumors can’t be true... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lord Windermere is shocked that Lady Windermere has spied on him, but Lady Windermere immediately confronts... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lady Windermere is appalled, but Lord Windermere goes on to say that she can be the one to help Mrs. Erlynne... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Lord Windermere again says that Lady Windermere doesn’t know the whole situation and begs her to... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lady Windermere tells Lord Windermere that if Mrs. Erlynne comes to the party, she will insult her and hit... (full context)
Act II
Language and Truth Theme Icon
...Meanwhile, Mr. Hopper arrives and the Duchess of Berwick quickly arranges his dances with Agatha. Lord Windermere asks Lady Windermere to speak with him, but she brushes him off. (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Augustus, the Duchess’s brother, arrives and takes Lord Windermere aside to discuss Mrs. Erlynne. Augustus is enamored with Mrs. Erlynne and bemoans that... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...about his past divorces and the two join the party. Lady Plymdale attempts to get Lord Windermere’s attention, but he says that he has to attend to his wife. Plymdale warns... (full context)
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
At last, Lord Windermere gets Lady Windermere’s attention, but he is dismayed when she refuses to reconsider her... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...Mrs. Erlynne. Mrs. Erlynne returns the gesture and then moves off to join the party. Lord Darlington picks up the fan and returns it. Lord Windermere whispers to Mrs. Erlynne that... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Lord Darlington tells Lady Windermere that she looks pale, to which she replies: “Cowards are always... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Erlynne dances with Lord Windermere in order to make Augustus jealous, while telling Augustus that she would much rather... (full context)
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lady Windermere and Lord Darlington return from the terrace. Lady Windermere bemoans her humiliation over Mrs. Erlynne, and Darlington... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lady Windermere recoils and tells Lord Darlington that she does not have the courage to run away with him. Darlington tells... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
...is wonderful and commending Lady Windermere for having invited her. As Lady Windermere watches unnoticed, Lord Windermere and Mrs. Erlynne talk together, with Mrs. Erlynne happily announcing her intention to accept... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Watching them go, Lady Windermere decides that she was foolish to turn Lord Darlington down and resolves to leave Lord Windermere. She writes him a letter and leaves... (full context)
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Erlynne reads the letter and then crumples it as Lord Windermere enters. She tells him that Lady Windermere has gone to bed and asks him... (full context)
Act III
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Alone in Lord Darlington’s rooms, Lady Windermere wonders when he will arrive and laments her situation. She worries... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...she might have gone back if Mrs. Erlynne hadn’t come, she can’t imagine returning to Lord Windermere having seen Mrs. Erlynne again. She accuses Mrs. Erlynne of having come on Lord... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Panicked, Mrs. Erlynne attempts to correct Lady Windermere. She says that Lord Windermere never read the letter and shows the crumpled letter to Lady Windermere before throwing... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Erlynne continues to insist that Lord Windermere loves Lady Windermere and hasn’t wronged her in any way. Lady Windermere repeats that... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...the voices belongs to Augustus, at which 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
The men lament that the club made them leave so early. Lord Windermere thanks Lord Darlington for his hospitality but says he can’t stay long. Augustus replies... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Lord Darlington comments that he doesn’t much like Mrs. Erlynne, and Cecil says that he likes... (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... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Darlington admits that he is in love, but that the woman he loves is “a... (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 if he is faithful to the woman he loves. When he confirms that he... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Lord Windermere recognizes the fan as Lady Windermere’s right away. Furious, he demands an explanation from... (full context)
Act IV
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...is alone in her morning room the next day. She debates miserably whether to tell Lord Windermere everything that happened, and wonders whether Mrs. Erlynne already has. Her maid, Rosalie, enters... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lord Windermere enters and tenderly notes that Lady Windermere seems unwell. Lady Windermere says that she... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Windermere is relieved, but he nonetheless says that Lady Windermere must never see Mrs. Erlynne... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...a note. Lady Windermere asks Parker to request that Mrs. Erlynne come up in person. Lord Windermere begs his wife not to speak with Mrs. Erlynne, calling her “a very dangerous... (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...Lady Windermere, which Lady Windermere happily agrees to provide. When she goes to get one, Lord Windermere takes Mrs. Erlynne aside and scolds her for daring to show her face there... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Lord Windermere goes on to accuse Mrs. Erlynne of blackmailing him, and she agrees that she... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Erlynne tells Lord Windermere that she has come to say goodbye to her daughter, Lady Windermere, but that... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Lord Windermere declares that he’s going to tell his wife the truth about Mrs. Erlynne, but... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...of a broken heart from missing her so much. Mrs. Erlynne rises to go, and Lord Windermere goes to send for her carriage. (full context)
Language and Truth Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
With Lord Windermere gone, Lady Windermere effusively thanks Mrs. Erlynne for her sacrifice the night before. Mrs.... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...but she asks him to see her out and carry her new fan. She bids Lord and Lady Windermere farewell and exits with Augustus. Alone, Lord and Lady Windermere reflect that... (full context)
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
Augustus reenters and says that Mrs. Erlynne explained everything, which startles both Lord Windermere and Lady Windermere. He explains that Mrs. Erlynne was actually looking for him when... (full context)