In Lady Windermere's Fan, the fan has got a deep symblolic value.Can you explain its functon and its value?Different fans with different color! Why? I'd have other questions to do about Lady windermere's fan! Could you answer me, please? -How did this play present Mrs Erlynne?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The symbolism of color is the same across the board in the Western culture, so you may see that, whether it is applied to a fan or to a ribbon, dress, or curtain, the color is what is sending out the message, not the object itself.

However- there is a specific language for fans, which is not in their color, but in the way it is waved, placed, and employed.

Click on the two links I am providing and you will get the entire symbolism of colors. Each color has a specific symbol representing an emotion, an event, or an idea.

On the second link there is the chart of the language of the hand fan as used in Victorian times. I believe both can help you.

**I would also include in your homework the previous editor's answer, because it has great information on how the fan is used in the play, and it gives a lot of insight into the story aside from the symbolism of fans themselves "*

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The fan has many colors, facets, faces, functions, much like the colors in the tail of peacock: it is both beautiful and a symbol of courtship.  Also, it is Lady Windamere's greatest fan (person who adores her the most).  Is it her husband or someone else?

  • It is a birthday present: LADY WINDERMERE "Pretty, isn't it! It's got my name on it, and everything. I have only just seen it myself. It's my husband's birthday present to me. You know to-day is my birthday?"
  • It is an object of revenge: "Yes, you gave me this fan to-day; it was your birthday present. If that woman crosses my threshold, I shall strike her across the face with it."
  • It is very feminine: DUCHESS OF BERWICK (fanning herself) "The air is so pleasant there."
  • She gives it to Lord Darlington: LADY WINDERMERE: "Will you hold my fan for me, Lord Darlington? Thanks."
  • She takes it back: "Lord Darlington, will you give me back my fan, please? Thanks.... A useful thing a fan, isn't it?... I want a friend to-night, Lord Darlington: I didn't know I would want one so soon."
  • And then drops it for him to pick up: LORD DARLINGTON: "You have dropped your fan, Lady Windermere." (Picks it up and hands it to her)
  • It is a symbol of jealousy, possession: LORD WINDERMERE: "What is my wife's fan doing here in your rooms? Hands off, Cecil. Don't touch me."
  • The female takes the fall for taking the fan: MRS. ERLYNNE: "I am afraid I took your wife's fan in mistake for my own, when I was leaving your house to-night. I am so sorry." (Takes fan from him. LORD WINDERMERE looks at her in contempt. LORD DARLINGTON in mingled astonishment and anger. LORD AUGUSTUS turns away. The other men smile at each other)
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial