The description of Lady Audley's dressing room uses sensual imagery to evoke wealth, opulence, and a sense of chaotic excess. Readers are invited to imagine smelling her perfume, and touching the fine fabrics. They can understand why these items are seductive and why Lady Audley would have wanted to obtain them. At the same time, the careless way the items are strewn about and the lack of care with which they are handled, suggests a restless, impulsive nature on Lady Audley's part.
At various points in the novel, the wind is described as violently assaulting the Castle Inn, making the structure unstable and precarious. This imagery introduces ideas of violence and unrest, making it clear that life at the Castle Inn, and the marriage of Phoebe and Luke, is neither stable nor happy. The imagery of restlessness and an unsettled atmosphere also applies to both Lady Audley and Robert. Robert can never be at rest because he is obsessed with finding out what happened to George, while Lady Audley can never be at peace because she is always terrified of having her secrets revealed.
Lady Audley's jewels
Lady Audley is often described as wearing many expensive sparkling jewels. They serve to enhance her beauty, but they also create a distraction. When other characters look at Lady Audley, they are literally "dazzled" and cannot see the truth of who she actually is. The jewel imagery also serves at times to hint at her true nature. When she is playing the piano at Audley Court right after George's disappearance, Robert notices the rings on her fingers. One is a blood-red heart, which might symbolize her recent violent act, and the other is a serpent, which is typically a symbol of deception and treachery.
The peaceful countryside
The countryside around Audley Court is often presented using vivid sensual imagery to evoke a sense of calm and restfulness. However, that seemingly peaceful quality actually provokes unease: there is always the sense that even a placid place can conceal dark secrets, and that the seemingly calm atmosphere is actually deceptive.
Lady Audley’s Secret Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Lady Audley’s Secret is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.