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The Duchess and the Jeweler by Virginia Woolf
The Duchess and the Jeweler by Virginia Woolf
Summary
The story “The Duchess and the Jeweler” reflects the English society of writer’s time. It was an age of change. The high-ups were coming down because of their moral decadence and the commoners were coming up. Once Oliver Bacon was very poor and lived in a filthy, little alley. He worked very hard and used fair and unfair means to become the richest jeweler of the England. He enjoys his present position. He is suffering from inferiority complex. There is a great difference between his present and past condition. He has become so important that each day he receives invitation cards from the aristocracy of the city. He has become very rich, but he is so greedy that he wants more and more wealth. One day the Duchess of Lambourne comes to sell some fake pearls. She induces him into buying those fake pearls very cleverly. She uses her daughter Diana as bait. She also invites him to the party where all the aristocracy will be present. Oliver Bacon buys the fake pearls because he wants to attend the party and spend the weekend with Diana. He loves Diana very much. Besides, he wants to move among aristocratic circles. He signs the cheque for twenty thousand pounds. The Duchess takes the cheque and leaves. Later, he asks pardon of the picture of his mother. The story “The Duchess and the Jeweler” by Virginia Woolf mirrors the society of England. Discuss. Whenever there is an age of change, the higher come down and lower downs go up. Discuss. The story describes the decadence of the aristocracy and the rise of the commoners. Comment. The story is a criticism on Victorian Society.

No doubt, the writer of the story “The Duchess and the Jeweler” reflects the English society of her time. It was an age of transition. The high-ups were coming down because of their moral decadence and the commoners were taking lead in spite of their psychological fixations. To fulfill her purpose, the writer introduces characters – the Duchess and the jeweler. The Duchess represents the high-ups. The jeweler represents the commoners. His name is Oliver Bacon. At the start of the story, the writer talks about commoners through Oliver Bacon, the jeweler. She tells the reader how the commoners took lead. Oliver Bacon was a commoner because he used to live in a filthy, little alley. Then slowly he took lead and became one of the high-ups of the English society. Now he lived at Piccadilly. It was the most fashionable and expensive place in London. He had become so important that each day he received invitation cards from the aristocracy of the English society. Even the Duchess of Lambourne waited for his pleasure outside his private office. Then the writer talks about the high-ups. To get her desired twenty-thousand, the Duchess had forgotten all her nobility. She was always in financial difficulties because of her moral decadence. She gambled. To arrange for the money she sold fake pearls to Oliver twice but this was not all. She had so much moral decadence that she used Diana, her daughter, to entrap Oliver Bacon. Therefore, we can conclude that the writer has very beautifully reflected the English society of her time. The high-ups were coming down because of their moral decadence and the commoners were taking lead. (276) Did the Duchess of Lambourne sell the pearls to Oliver Bacon real? If not, why did the jeweler buy them? No doubt, the pearls sold by the Duchess of Lambourne to Oliver were false. Oliver Bacon bought them and paid twenty thousand because of two very strong reasons. Firstly, Oliver Bacon wanted to move among aristocratic circles. It was his greatest desire. He was a commoner. He used to live in a filthy, little alley. He worked hard to get to that position of the richest jeweler of England. Now it was his greatest desire to attend parties of the aristocrat. The Duchess induced him into buying fake pearls by telling him that...
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