How Effective Is the Character ‘Mrs. Danvers’ in Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’?

Topics: Daphne du Maurier, Novel, Face Pages: 4 (1132 words) Published: September 28, 2008
Rebecca has been described as the first major gothic romance of the 20th century; Mrs. Danvers’ character is one of the few Gothic interests within the novel. Her unnatural appearance and multi-faceted relationship with Rebecca provides scope for manifold interpretations and critical views. Furthermore, Mrs. Danvers connection with Rebecca and Manderlay is a sub-plot in itself, making Mrs. Danvers the most subtly exciting character in the novel.

Mrs. Danvers bond with the late Mrs. De Winter is not just a typical servant/mistress relationship, nor even friendship; it is stronger and more passionate than mere companionship. In Chapter Fourteen when Mrs. Danvers finds the narrator looking in Rebecca’s room, she demonstrates adoration for everything that was Rebecca’s: “That was her bed. It’s a beautiful bed, isn’t it?”, “Here is her nightdress…how soft and light it is, isn’t it?”- Even the room itself: “The loveliest room you have ever seen”. Much like in modern day culture, where unhealthy almost addicted ‘fans’ of famous individuals, worship everything that belongs to the celebrity, simply because it belonged to that person, as the superlative suggests, Mrs. Danvers is obsessed, idolising Rebecca and all that was hers.

Additionally, Mrs. Danvers preserves Rebecca’s room from the day that she died: “You would think she had just gone out for a while and would be back in the evening”. Mrs. Danvers keeps Rebecca’s room in a shrine-like manner and from this we discover the way in which Mrs. Danvers puts Rebecca on a pedestal: The description “standing out from her face like a halo” uses the simile to imply angelic qualities. Mrs. Danvers even depicts Rebecca with the eternality and omniscience of a God: “Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?”, “she can see us”, “I feel her everywhere”. Mrs. Danvers worshipped Rebecca (“I did everything for her you know”) and much like a theist Christian, ignoring the evidence against Christianity, Mrs. Danvers...

Bibliography: ‘Rebecca’ Pan Books Ltd 1975
http://www.dumaurier.org/reviews-rebecca.html
http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,,1807814,00.html#article_continue
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