Understanding Gwendolen


Two years ago (yikes) I read Daniel Deronda and was immediately caught by the character Gwendolen Harleth. She deeply intrigued me from the very first page – which was the whole point in the first place.

It was pretty easy to get a good grasp on her character in the beginning. She is beautiful (and knows it), arrogant, selfish, spoiled, vain…and for some reason, I understood her completely. I understood her frustration with Deronda and her wish to know him better, her resentment at being judged by him and longing for his approval at the same time, her desire for a better life and her uncertainty as to how to go about it. She is flawed and she’s realistic.

Maybe that’s what makes her so compelling.

I’m not sure what the fact that I identified with her says about me.

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