Within the second volume of Lady Audley’s Secret, there seems to be an underlying theme or possible binary between the two sexes. At one point, Robert Audley goes on a rant about how women are, “pitiless to each other” and are essentially, the lesser sex (236). Later on in the volume, he even continues to talk about the “horrible things that have been done by women, since that day upon which Eve was created to be Adam’s companion” (271). On the other side, Lady Audley also takes the time to explain to Alicia that “madness is more often transmitted from father to son than from father to daughter” (276). While this quote is less obviously defaming of men, it can be inferred that she is illuding to the madness of all men, since madness is more likely to be transmitted from father to son.
While looking at these three quotes and passages, one might find themselves questioning why there is this theme and binary. While it cannot be said for sure, unless you are Mary Elizabeth Braddon, there may be assumptions. My assumption is that it is not really about the sexes, but more so the actual people these characters were talking about. Robert and Lady Audley have an obvious dislike for each other. Robert believes that Lady Audley murdered his best friend, while Lady Audley is either worried, he’s going to find out her secrets, or is pissed that he thinks that in the first place. While they go on tangents about the opposite sex, I believe these tangents are just overall thoughts about each other. Robert thinks that Lady Audley is the devil, that she is lesser than and realizes the (so-called) horrible things she has done. Lady Audley believes that Robert is mad, even if he is right about his assumptions. While these comments were spoken in the second volume, the entire book shows the dislike these two characters have for each other. I would bet money that continues in the third volume.