Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter
Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter, middle-aged owner of Manderley. He is detached, moody, mysterious, at times gracious, friendly, and apologetic for his seeming rudeness, only to return unaccountably to his reserve. This reserve is finally removed with the lifting of the burden on his conscience.
Mrs. de Winter
Mrs. de Winter, Maxim’s young wife, the narrator. A shy, sensitive orphan, she first meets Maxim through her older traveling companion, Mrs. Van Hopper. Deeply in love with him, she happily accepts his proposal and marries him. Puzzled and troubled by Maxim’s strange shifts of mood and his abstracted manner and by Mrs. Danvers’ obvious dislike of her, she thinks herself unwelcome, an inferior successor to Rebecca at Manderley. Desiring Maxim’s love, she yet remains aloof because of her brooding insecurity and thus hinders his revealing his painful memories to her.
Rebecca de Winter
Rebecca de Winter, Maxim’s dead wife, a very beautiful woman who charmed many people but who tortured her husband with flagrant infidelities. When she learned that she would soon die of cancer, she taunted her husband with a false story of her unborn child by another man until she drove him to murder her.
Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper at Manderley. Tall, gaunt, with a face like a death’s head, she is cold, formal, and...
(The entire section is 452 words.)
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