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by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Theme of Love

Where's the love? You might find yourself asking just this question as you read Rebecca. In spite of its highly romantic nature, this novel is full of spiteful, selfish characters wrapped up in dark dramas. We do see glimmers of what looks like real love, but there's always a dark twist. For example, the frightful Mrs. Danvers seems to be the only person who really loved Rebecca and didn't view her as disposable. Similarly, Mrs. de Winter really, really does seem to love Maxim in a way that defines the phrase "unconditional love." Knowing he could snap and kill her easily if she betrays him, we fear that her love could cause her harm. Still, there's evidence that Maxim really does love her, too. Perhaps she's everything he really wants in a woman. What do you think? Is their love real or just imagined because of all the other intense emotions floating around?

Questions About Love

  1. Do you think Maxim ever loved Rebecca? Did Rebecca ever love Maxim?
  2. How would you describe Mrs. Danvers' love for Rebecca? Would you even describe it as love? Why or why not?
  3. Is Maxim in love with Mrs. de Winter, or is he just using her? Similarly, is Mrs. de Winter in love with Maxim, or is she just infatuated? How do you know?     
  4. Do you think Maxim could come to hate Mrs. de Winter the way he hated Rebecca?
  5. What are some of the reasons Maxim and Mrs. de Winter are attracted to each other?
  6. Is Favell in love with Rebecca? Explain your answer.

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Mrs. de Winter truly loves Maxim; she demonstrates this by standing by him even after she learns he's a murderer.

Mrs. de Winter's relationship with Maxim is complicated; it's difficult to separate her love for Maxim as a person, from her need to maintain her identity as Mrs. de Winter, without which she would be poor, homeless, and alone.

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