The Duchess and the Jeweller Questions and Answers
by Virginia Woolf

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Why do you think the Jeweller is dissatisfied with his life in "The Duchess and the Jeweller"?

The jeweller is dissatisfied with his his life in "The Duchess and the Jeweller" because no matter how much he has, he always wants more. This is rooted in his shame over his poor, obscure childhood, to him a stain he can never wash away.

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Oliver Bacon, the jeweller, has everything and nothing—his life is a paradox. He has wealth, possessions, jewels, and the respect and envy of others.

Yet, his life is empty, because he has no one to share it with. Diana, the daughter of the Duchess, is the object of his desire. She also becomes his Achilles heel: once the Duchess invites him to her estate for the weekend, Oliver ultimately pays for the pearls without having their authenticity checked. He hopes to see Diana, so he writes the check for twenty thousand, despite a suspicious feeling that gnaws at him, since the Duchess has lied to him before. Oliver is so lonely and so in love with Diana that he takes the chance, “For … it is to be a long week-end.”

Also, Oliver seems to show an insecurity, as if he were that poor little boy he used to be; he often thinks of his mother, imagining her reprimanding him for selling stolen dogs. He remembers his mother chiding him for having no sense. Although he has everything now, he...

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