The Picture of Dorian Gray - Minor female characters

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Mrs Vane
The un-married mother of Sibyl and James Vane, Mrs Vane only occurs in chapter five of the
novel. She is portrayed as a melodramatic mother, who doesn't seem to take much account
of the world around her, focusing merely on money and her audience. Mrs. Vane is a faded
actress who has consigned herself and her daughter to a tawdry theatre company, the
owner of which has helped her to pay her debts. She conceives of Dorian Gray as a
wonderful alliance for her daughter because of his wealth; this ulterior motive, however,
clouds her judgment and leaves Sibyl vulnerable.
Mrs Vane is disappointed when the events in her life don't live up to the melodrama of the
theatre. She believes in the Cinderella fairy-tale of an "aristocrat" like `Prince Charming' falling
in love with a lower class actress like Sibyl. She appreciates Sybil's love-stricken outbursts
because they are worthy of the stage. When James enters their room, "she mentally
elevated her son to the dignity of an audience. She felt sure that the tableau was
interesting." She is disappointed with the farewell of her only son, because "It was crude. It
reminded her of a bad rehearsal." To Mrs Vane, life has become a shadow of her art.
Mrs Vane is also award that Sibyl is in danger of repeating the same mistakes that she is. Her
secret enjoyment of her dramatic life is evident, however, she does show that reality is
genuinely painful as she feels a `hideous sense of humiliation'. She imagines that she is
protecting sibyl, claiming that she never had a mother yet Sibyl has; however, he lack of
support and true feeling in evident as she is already `a faded, tired-looking woman' and gives
the impression that she is willing to prostitute her daughter to Mr Isaac for money.
Duchess of Monmouth
She is a pretty, bored young noblewoman who flirts with Dorian at his country estate. She's
the only woman that we see who can hold her own against the dagger-like wit of Lord
Henry, and she's well matched with both him and Dorian. Though she seems to be truly
enamored of Dorian, we get the feeling that there's more to her than meets the eye. As
Henry suggests, perhaps the Duchess is simply too clever. "I am on the side of the Trojans.
They fought for a woman".
Victoria Wotton
Lord Henry's wife, Victoria appears only once in the novel, greeting Dorian as he waits for
Lord Henry. She is described as an "untidy", foolishly romantic woman with "a perfect mania
for going to church". She is the only untidy thing found in the first few chapters of Dorian
Gray. Against such a beautiful atmosphere and setting, she seems quite out of place. This
could represent the position of women in society, showing that they do not conform to
man's social life. She is also the antithesis of Lord Henry Wotton, as she stumbles in her

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Moreover, she is "usually in love with somebody", showing Henry's lack of care for
her. So much so that she soon leaves him, as we see at the end of the novel.
Lady Agatha
Lady Agatha is Lord Henry's aunt. Lady Agatha is active in charity work in the London slums.
She is described as being like `an auctioneer' auctioning off her goods when she introduces
people, either telling you nothing about them, or everything.…read more

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