Rebecca

By: Daphne Du Maurier

Character Analysis

The second Mrs. de Winter is young, kind and generous but incredibly shy and self-conscious. When she and Maxim de Winter first meet at Monte Carlo, she was reserved but sweet and gentle and Maxim fell in love with her. After they are married and she arrives at Manderley, she always feels like Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, always compares her to Rebecca, Maxim de Winter's first wife who died. Mrs. Danvers is obsessed with Rebecca. The second Mrs. de Winter tries to escape Rebecca's shadow and make the house her own by doing things differently than Rebecca. For example, when Mrs. Danvers checks with Mrs. de Winter on the menu, she decides to change it because she wants to do things her own way. This shows that Mrs. de Winter is gaining confidence and can stand up to Mrs. Danvers, who had frightened her. Another example is when Mrs. Danvers attempts to convince Mrs. de Winter to commit suicide by comparing her to Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers said,"You'll never get the better of her. She's still the mistress here, even if she is dead. She's the real Mrs. de Winter, not you. It's you that's the shadow and the ghost. It's you that's forgotten and not wanted and pushed aside. Well, why don't you leave Manderley to her? Why don't you go"(250). Mrs Danvers is making the second Mrs. de Winter feel like she doesn't belong in Manderley anymore. Mrs. de Winter is the most changed character throughout the story because she was happy when she and Maxim first met, but after some time at Manderley she becomes depressed, looks pale and doesn't eat. She is deeply afraid of Mrs. Danvers until the second Mrs. de Winter gains confidence.

The Importance of the Setting

The setting is key to the plot because it reflects the emotions of the second Mrs. de Winter. The house and the weather is bright and sunny when she first arrives at Manderley, but after some time, it is often dark, cloudy and rainy. For example, "A fog was rolling up from the sea, and I could not see the woods beyond the bank"(243). This shows that the second Mrs. de Winter is feeling confused, depressed or sad. When Mr. de Winter killed Rebecca, it was on the night of a terrible storm, which illustrates that Maxim de Winter was furious with Rebecca. This shows how the emotions of the characters are closely associated with the setting.

Characterization of Mrs. Danvers

Mrs. Danvers is the housekeeper at Manderley who seems normal at the beginning of the story, but gradually the reader can tell that she is insane. Mrs. Danvers is very deceitful and cruel. Mrs. Danvers is obsessed with Rebecca, and hates the second Mrs. de Winter for no other reason than she is not Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers tries to sabotage the relationship between the second Mrs. de Winter and her husband, even though she knows Rebecca is dead. For example, in chapter 16, when Mrs. de Winter is looking for a dress to wear to the costume ball at Manderley, Mrs. Danvers suggests that she wear the dress that was in the photo of Caroline de Winter. But, little did Mrs. de Winter know that Rebecca wore that same dress to the last costume ball at the house before she died. Mrs. Danvers knew Maxim would become angry and upset when he saw the second Mrs. de Winter wearing that dress. Mrs. Danvers is a very cruel, insane and manipulative person.

Critical Review on Rebecca

I praise Rebecca because it is a very suspenseful and mysterious story. My favorite part of the story was when I found out that Mr. de Winter killed Rebecca because it such a surprise and it was totally different than what I thought had happened to her. I liked Rebecca because it wasn't only a romance story and a mix of murder, mystery, suspense and some romance. I praise Rebecca because the story is very complicated with lots of twists and turns. For example I was very surprised when Maxim tells Mrs. de Winter that he never loved Rebecca because everyone kept saying they were so in love. Another example is when Maxim, Mrs. de Winter, Frank Crawley (Maxim's overseer at Manderley), and Jack Favell (Rebecca's cousin) discover that Rebecca had cancer and that she got Maxim very angry because she knew that he would kill her and put her out of her pain. I praise Rebecca because the story is complex and you never know what is going to happen.