What is the significance of the title, Rebecca?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daphne du Maurier titled her novel of intrigue and murder after Mr. de Winter's stunning first wife, Rebecca. The title is extremely significant to the story, because much of the story deals with unraveling and piecing together the late Rebecca's personality, life style, and untimely death.  The reader actually never learns the first name of the story's principle character and protagonist; she is only ever referred to in the novel as Mrs. de Winter.  The new Mrs. de Winter feels as though she is living in Rebecca's shadow at Manderley; through the course of the novel as Rebecca's secrets come to light, Mrs. de Winter and her husband must still deal with the drama and mystery surrounding Rebecca.  Maurier's title is a fitting one, for the book truly is all about Rebecca, a character who never makes a live appearance in the novel, but haunts it all the same.