Mrs. Danvers

Mrs. Danvers (whose first name is never given) is the main antagonist of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca. Danvers is the head housekeeper at Manderley, the stately manor belonging to the wealthy Maximillian "Maxim" de Winter, where he once lived with his first wife, Rebecca. Nicknamed "Danny" by Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers was Rebecca's maid as a child and following the death of her previous mistress, persecutes the new Mrs. de Winter. Danvers resents the new Mrs. de Winter, convinced she is trying to "take Rebecca's place" despite the two women never meeting and being nothing alike. She also resents Maxim for remarrying, and she tries to break up the marriage. Late in the story she suggests that Mrs. de Winter wear a particular dress to a costume ball knowing Rebecca wore it to the costume ball the year before. It angers Mr. de Winter, and when the new wife confronts Mrs. Danvers about her deception Mrs. Danvers attempts to manipulate her into jumping out of the second floor window. Mrs. Danvers' devotion to Rebecca was not as mutual as Mrs. Danvers believed it to be. Rebecca kept secrets from Danvers as well, including her cancer and the fact Maxim knew about her affairs. In the end, having failed to break up the marriage, Mrs. Danvers disappears and soon after, Manderley is set on fire. In the book's final scene, Maxim and Mrs. de Winter are driving back from London and see their beloved home in flames. In the novel, Mrs. Danvers' fate is unknown; early in the novel, the narrator, looking back on the events of the story, writes, "Mrs. Danvers. I wonder what she is doing now."


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