Lady Windermere's Fan Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

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What kind of woman is Mrs. Erlynne in Lady Windermere's fan?

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The protagonist of Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde is Lady Margaret Windermere. She is the daughter of a man whose wife left him for another man, but she believes that her mother died when she was a baby because her father has not told her that her mother is, in fact, still alive. She is currently married to the wealthy and respected Lord Windermere.

When the audience initially hears of Mrs. Erlynne, she is revealed as someone taking payments from Lord Windermere. She appears on the surface an example of a "fallen woman," one who sacrificed upper-class respectability in order to commit adultery. Lady Windermere thinks that Lord Windermere is having an affair with Mrs. Erlynne. The actual facts are more complicated, as the audience gradually discovers. In fact, Mrs. Erlynne is actually Lady Windermere's mother.

In the play, she appears to regret her earlier actions, but she has also developed a sort of world-weary pragmatism. She sees through many social conventions, finding them grounded...

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