Lady Audley's Secret

Working Relationships: True Deception in Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret

Mary Elizabeth Braddon's sensation novel Lady Audley's Secret presents the astonishing and cynical notion that the "sort of surprise at the fictional company one is keeping, or at the view of the world... is central to a whole genre of fiction" (Introduction). In the story Braddon's plot reflects this idea through mischievous action and mystery. She vividly expresses the conflict of deception among the characters involved in the dramatic events that occur. This deception exists in the core of every relationship in the novel, namely in the areas of love and family. It ranges from smaller fallacies to grand schemes that influence the lives of all who are associated with them. Relationships within this novel function as a primary means of housing the common quality of deceit. Regardless how well established or personal relationships appear to be, this attribute yet exists to a general or astounding degree. Also, despite the fact that relationships are sometimes tainted by deception, people continue their lives together. By presenting her characters with so many hidden desires and actions, Braddon attempts to reveal that deception embodies a controlling force in the protagonists' and antagonists'...

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