Power takes on a bunch of different forms in Daniel Deronda. Some people have financial power, some have political or social influence, and some people have great spiritual knowledge and other people look up to them. The biggest way that we encounter power in this novel, though, is through the ways in which characters wield power over one another. Power plays an especially big role in Gwendolen's story. At home, Gwendolen wields incredible power over her family. What she says goes – her mother can't stand up to her, and her sisters barely even matter. When Grandcourt comes into the picture, though, Gwendolen seems to lose all power. She can't voice her opinions. She can't do what she likes and she lives in constant fear and agitation.
Questions About Power
- What is the relationship between power and gender in this novel?
- Does Gwendolen go from being powerful to powerless, or is it possible that she's not all that powerful to begin with? Why?
- Which characters do you consider to be powerful? Which are not powerful?
- What are some of the ways in which power is portrayed as undesirable?
Chew on This
In Daniel Deronda, men have power and women are powerless.
Daniel Deronda shows us that no character is actually as powerful as he or she might think.