Maid or Secret Keeper?

In Lady Audley’s Secret, the character, Phoebe, plays a significant role in the novel. Phoebe’s character development through the beginning of the novel provides thematic development and and insight into another social class. Even though she is a minor character, she gives the reader an important insight into Lady Audley.

The character of Phoebe is described as Lady Audley’s look-alike and shares many memories with Lady before she becomes a Lady. This is important because Phoebe can represent the Lady Audley of the lower class showing that there is no visible difference in the lower and upper classes. When Lady Audley is married, she takes Phoebe with her. Throughout the novel, Phoebe is asked to describe what the Lady was like before she was married. This shows how Phoebe is used as a looking glass not only into the lower class but also into the former life of Lady Audley.

Phoebe, being so close to Lady Audley, is also privy to an abundance of information regarding Lady Audley. She learns secrets and thoughts of Lady Audley that become increasingly interesting as the plot thickens. The most interesting part of Phoebe’s character is that she knows secrets and messages about Lady Audley that even the audience is unaware of. This information makes Phoebe an incredibly important character to Lady Audley and to the readers. The readers might be inclined to feel suspicious of Phoebe and as a result of that, feel suspicious of Lady Audley. Also, because of Phoebe’s rocky relationship to her husband, Luke, the readers could feel increasingly worried for her as the novel progresses.

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