Lady Windermere’s Fan


Oscar Wilde

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

Roses, which are typically associated with picturesque femininity, appear prominently at both the start and end of the play. At the beginning, Lady Windermere is arranging roses when Lord Darlington comes to visit her, which associates them with her simplistic views on morality and her dedication to performing the part of a perfect lady. From that point on, Lady Windermere’s understanding of the world and her role in it becomes increasingly complicated, with the play’s events showing her how things like morality are much more nuanced than she initially thought. However, the symbol of roses returns at the end of the play, with Lady Windermere looking forward to seeing the roses at the country house that she plans to visit with Lord Windermere. This symbolic return indicates that even with her newfound wisdom, Lady Windermere is still tempted to some extent by the comforting, simple version of perfection and femininity that she once believed in. Through her, the play seems to suggest people will always wish to play idealized roles and rely on straightforward ideas of good and evil, no matter how much evidence they have that the real world is more complicated.

Roses Quotes in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The Lady Windermere’s Fan quotes below all refer to the symbol of Roses. 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 IV Quotes

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

Roses Symbol Timeline in Lady Windermere’s Fan

The timeline below shows where the symbol Roses 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
...woman named Lady Windermere is in the morning room of her home in London, arranging roses and preparing for a party that evening. Her butler, Parker, arrives to announce that Lord... (full context)
Act IV
Morality and Ambiguity Theme Icon
Gender, Performance, and Femininity Theme Icon
...their own love for each other. Lady Windermere looks forward to seeing the garden of roses at their house in the country. (full context)