Lady Audley's Secret

Lady Audley's Secret Metaphors and Similes

"Her crimson dress... hung about her in folds that looked like flames" (107) (Simile)

This simile is important because it evokes the sinister nature of Lady Audley. Rather than comparing her red dress to something positive, it is described as resembling a destructive and unpredictable force: fire. The simile also foreshadows the fire Lady Audley will set at the Castle Inn in the hopes of killing Robert and Luke.

"It's as dark as midnight from first to last" (135) (Simile)

Robert describes the mystery of George's disappearance as being as dark as midnight to illustrate how confusing it is, and how difficult it is to see clearly what has happened. The simile, however, is slightly ironic: while murders and disappearances would more typically be expected to take place in the dark hours of the night, George actually vanishes in broad daylight on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

"She goes through the world as she does across country–straight ahead and over everything" (149) Simile

This simile is used by Robert to draw a comparison between Alicia's behavior when she hunts on horseback, and her behavior in general. Robert feels that Alicia is too assertive and outspoken, and he does not find these traits appropriate or attractive in a woman. This simile reveals Robert's expectations of what it means to be a proper woman: not to participate in activities like hunting, and not to be assertive in one's behavior. It reveals how strict conventions of Victorian femininity were.

"The winter sunlight... lit up the azure of those beautiful eyes, till their colour seemed to flicker and tremble betwixt blue and green, as the opal tints of the sea change upon a summer's day" (150) (Simile)

This simile primarily serves to highlight the beauty of Lady Audley's appearance. At the same time, the simile suggests that she can be changeable and inconsistent, supporting the idea that there is more to her than there appears to be. The comparison to the sea also evokes something that is powerful and has destructive potential; it is not a simple, domestic comparison.

"There were no shady nooks in his character into which one could creep for shelter from his hard daylight" (pg 205) (Metaphor)

This metaphor is used to describe Mr. Harcourt Talboys, the father of George and Clara. He is described as resembling a rigid, square building that does not provide any comfortable shelter. The metaphor helps to explain Mr. Talboys's behavior in disowning his son George. It critiques people who are too simplistic and rigid in their thoughts. This metaphor provides a balance to some of the other character portrayals: while characters who are deceptive, multi-faceted, and able to conceal secrets, such as Lady Audley, can be dangerous, characters who are completely single-minded and unambiguous can be dangerous as well.