Theodore is the primary character in the story that Zenobia tells about the Veiled Lady. In the story, Theodore makes a bet with his male friends that he can discover the true identity of the Veiled Lady. He sneaks into the Veiled Lady’s dressing room and hides there until she arrives after her performance. Somehow, the Veiled Lady knows that he’s hiding and calls him forward. When Theodore says that he’s determined to discover her identity, she tells him he has a choice to make: either kiss her through the veil before lifting it, in which case they will be bound together in a marriage-like relationship—or Theodore can skip the kiss and just lift the veil, but then he will never know happiness again. Theodore decides he’d rather see the Veiled Lady before kissing her because he’s shallow and afraid she might be ugly, so he lifts the veil right away. He only sees her face for an instant before she disappears, but for the rest of his life, he pines for one more look at her face. Theodore’s life is ruined because he violated the Veiled Lady’s privacy and gave into his shallow impulses. His unhappy fate illustrates how secrecy can destroy both the secret keeper and the person trying to uncover the secret; not only does his behavior hurt the Veiled Lady (his removal of the veil is akin to a rape), but he also struggles to live with what he has done for the rest of his life.
Theodore Character Timeline in The Blithedale Romance
The timeline below shows where the character Theodore appears in The Blithedale Romance. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13: Zenobia’s Legend
...the Lady because she always disappears during Veiled Lady performances, but one of the men, Theodore, objects and says he saw that woman at a Veiled Lady exhibition once. Nobody can... (full context)