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Lady Windermere's Fan Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lady Windermere's Fan.
This section contains 419 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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Themes

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy can be defined as pretending to be something one is not or feigning to believe in something one does not. Most of the characters in Wilde's play accept hypocrisy as a necessary component of their social world. People in high society must pretend, must conform to the social norm in order to maintain their position. Hypocrisy is the glue that holds together a complex web of relationships; if the truth were to come out, these relationships would fall apart.

Lies are a necessary tool to avoid conflict. For example, Dumby agrees with Mrs. Stutfield that the season has been "delightful," and in the next breath agrees with the Duchess of Berwick that it has been "dreadfully dull." Likewise, the Duchess of Berwick tells Lady Windermere that her nieces never gossip, then later declares that they always gossip.

Hypocrisy is distinguished from virtuous lies, which are told to...

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This section contains 419 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Lady Windermere's Fan Study Guide
Copyrights
Lady Windermere's Fan from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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