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Character Role Analysis

The Governess

The Governess is certainly the protagonist of this story – she places herself in the role of heroine, even if we're ultimately not so sure what her actual role is. Since the story is told from her point of view, we only see things how she sees them; on the surface, she's a noble, heroic savior figure (who ends up failing to save anyone), while underneath…who knows? We can see her as good through and through, or we can begin to question both her sanity and her goodness. James certainly drops a lot of clues about the moral ambiguity of the Governess, both through her similarities and odd attractions to her deceased predecessors, Quint and Jessel, and through the arrogance with which she speaks at times.