Robert Audley

Robert Audley’s appearance grabbed my attention as he was not shown to have any direct relation with Lucy, our protagonist. Nevertheless, the brief description of the character and his career seem to have significant meaning to the story plot as we move along. Robert’s career as a barrister is mentioned four times within a few lines. The pattern stands out as we read through the passage with the phrase “as a barrister” that speaks of Robert’s job when working at Figtree Court. Along with the line “If these things can make a man a barrister, Robert Audley decidedly was one” (Braddon 37), the passage sarcastically described Robert’s bare minimum responsibilities at work. By listing out the only two tasks including having a chamber and dining with powerful and famous figures, Robert was depicted to have a job that requires minimum effort and qualification. Additionally, by stressing the benefits and treatments Robert got as a barrister, the passage implies his intention and motivation when taking on the job, all the while providing insights on his characteristics of a lazy and unmotivated man. The passage went on telling how Robert works at his job with the same spirit. The word “brief” was repeated three times consecutively, pointing at how Robert had no interest as well as responsibility at his job. With the strands “never either had”, “tried to”, and “even wished to”, it could be inferred that Robert is indeed a lazy guy with an easy life depending on his father’s money. These traits of Robert provided a brief characterization of the power and money forces during the mid to late Victorian period society. These characteristics also had me wonder how Robert would contribute to the story’s plot and how he would be involved with Lucy and the Audley’s family.

2 thoughts on “Robert Audley”

  1. The book could be describing Robert as lazy to allow the reading to make a prediction about Robert’s actions later in the story. Robert is constantly shown to be unaware to the events going on around him. Rather than portray him as a man of utmost importance due to his position, the passage depicts him as a lazy wealthy man who has not earned his riches. This mostly like is there to support his lay back personality and shallow mindset. Also, the fact that Robert is still someone of importance in society without being a skilled worker emphasizes just how important wealth was in this society. Even without earning respect through work, Robert holds his position in society simply due to his wealth.

  2. I want to respond here to your point about the Barrister. I am very conflicted as I continue to read about whether Robert is or is not good at his job. He continually seems like he is following a logical train of thought and seems to almost be playing a brand of mental chess. Then, like when he was talking to Luke, he backs someone into a corner of admission or fainting (Lady Audley) but just stops. With the instance for Luke, he simply just goes to bed despite the ghostly look of Phoebe. Lady Audley in the very next chapter faints upon the revealing of Roberts information yet he simply does not act. Is he just playing an impossible to follow brand of mental chess with these other characters or is he simply lucky to find the information he appears to have? The difference right now is whether he will make the connections between his findings or not.

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