Characteristics Of A Gothic Hero In Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca

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In Daphne du Maurier’s gothic-style novel, Rebecca, develops one of her main characters, Maxim de Winter, into a classic gothic hero. A gothic hero possesses certain features including: some degree of a tragic life experience, high social rank, constant foreshadowing of doom, a strong sexual element, etc. du Maurier’s character development of Mr. de Winter is excellent because he portrays all of the features of a gothic protagonist. Throughout Rebecca, Maxim de Winter exhibits the characteristics of a gothic hero: having some degree of tragic stature, having a tendency to be influenced by past events, and having an occasional association with what is non-human. Having a tragic event occur in their lifetime is a trademark for gothic-type …show more content…

de Winter has a tendency to be influenced by his past and his actions in the past. Throughout Manderley, there are many manifestations of Rebecca, not letting her memory and impact on the estate die when she was murdered. Mrs. Danvers, a maid favored by Rebecca, is still very much fixated on Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers has kept Rebecca’s room the same ever since she died. When the narrator was looking into her room, Mrs. Danvers crept up behind her and asked, “You wanted to see the room. Why have you never asked met show it to you before? I was ready to show it to you everyday. You had only to ask me” (167). Mrs. Danvers continues to show the narrator around Rebecca’s room with extensive joy and happiness. Similarly, the narrator coincidentally wears the same dress Rebecca did to the last fancy ball that Manderley had. Mrs. Danvers suggests that the narrator wear the lovely white gown that Mr. de Winter’s cousin, Caroline de Winter, wore. Maxim’s sister explains to the narrator that, “It was what Rebecca did at the last fancy dress ball at Manderley. Identical. Same picture, the same dress. You stood there on the stairs, and for one ghastly moment I thought…” (216). In the same way, Maxim beholds the narrator in the white dress: “There was no color in his face. It was ashen white… something was wrong…” (213). Maxim believes that the narrator is spiting him by dressing as Rebecca had last ball. This constant reminder and influence of his past wife and her …show more content…

The woods past the Happy Valley gives Maxim and the narrator a sort-of “paranormal” feeling: “I could not forget the white, lost look in Maxim’s eyes when we came up through the woods…his words, ‘Oh, God, what a fool I was to come back’” (120). Maxim feels like he is an imbecile coming back to Manderley after he murdered Rebecca. The same as Mrs. Danvers, Maxim can feel Rebecca’s “spirit” in the rooms or in the house. Likewise, Manderley seems to feel “alive” with lies and deceit. Similar to having a paranormal feeling, Maxim has a interrelationship with the feeling of being “non-human” or “inhuman.” Maxim is conversing with Frank Crawley and Colonel Julyan when Frank makes a good point about a human desire to put on a disguise or dress like someone we are not: “It’s a universal instinct of the human species, isn’t it, that desire to dress up in some sort of guise?”
“I must be very inhuman, then,” replies

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