Lady Windermere's Fan
For Kids and Teachers
In the play Lady Windermere's Fan characters reveal who they really are and the fake society that they live in by their actions. Lady Windermere acts like the moral police, Lord Darlington is an arrogant playboy, the Duchess of Berwick is fake and lives to judge other people.
Lady Windermere has taken on the role of Sgt. in the “moral police”. Lady Windermere wants nothing to do with impropriety and looks down on anyone who is not completely moral. She bluntly tells the Duchess that she doesn't want to even know people that are involved in any type of scandal. She understands that Lord Darlington is a complete scoundrel but doesn't send him away. Lady Windermere has shown she has no true character because if she truly didn't enjoy these two people she would not have them in her house. She is the moral police because she has decided what is morally correct and what is inappropriate. In her mind it is morally fine to be a playboy and a scoundrel or a horrible gossip like her two friends because of their high position in society.
Lord Darlington makes no apologies for his rude behavior. Lord Darlington is arrogant and self-important. He understands that his high position in society will protect him against not being invited to parties and social events so he doesn't even attempt to hide his true self. He openly tells the room that he is wicked and if they are stupid enough to spend a moment of time with this wicked man they deserve what they get. He clearly does not believe his behavior is inappropriate. Society has decided that wealthy important men like himself can do whatever they want.
The Duchess of Berwick is the most arrogant and rude character in this passage. She has no respect for her hostess Lady Windermere and considers herself above everyone. The Duchess must be very powerful in society to be invited to people's homes and act this way. Because of her position in society she believes she can treat people the way they deserve to be treated as her underlings. She is rude and crass and gossips yet Lady Windemere has invited her into her home. Lady Windemere is probably beneath her in society so she is forced to deal with her personality even inside her own home. The Duchess has shown herself to be a horrible friend and a worst houseguest.