Daisy Miller Character Analysis

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In Daisy Miller, James sets about to study in detail his story’s namesake. What he discovers is the young, beautiful girl is untainted by European prejudices: unlike the male protagonist, Frederick Winterbourne. In the opening scene of his story, James depicts in vivid detail the Swiss landscape of Vevey with its large lake, glittering in the background. There seems in James’s florid description to be a hint of nostalgia for a bygone time, and this is reflected in him comparing and contrasting the numerous tourist hotels that line the lake. It would be in one of those hotels (to be precise the Trois Couronnes) that Winterbourne would encounter, first, Randolph Miller and, a moment later, his charming sister, Daisy. Like Maise in James’s…show more content…
There is, however, the danger, especially in Europe, men will misinterpret her friendliness for something else – sexual availability. It is this misinterpretation by European society that will ultimately lead to her tragic demise.

Prior to this happening, Miss Miller and Winterbourne discuss, among other things, a trip to the Château de Chillon. It would be there in that ancient castle, they would walk and talk freely away from prying eyes. Even so, this sojourn is dependent on whether her courier, Eugenio, will stay behind with Mrs Miller and Randolph, and it is precisely his appearance towards the end of their conversation that will lead to a misinterpretation by Eugenio of Winterbourne’s true intentions. He believes Winterbourne may present a threat to the young girl’s reputation: although that is furthest from the case in the young man’s mind. For instance, when Winterbourne mentions his aunt, Mrs Costello, to Miss Miller, he reiterates his intentions are good by suggesting, she would be happy to meet her in addition to confirming her nephew’s moral conduct.

Later, when Frederick tells Mrs Costello about the beautiful girl, the old woman is horrified to be involved with those pedestrian people – the Millers. It is precisely her ability to judge people of their societal worth; Winterbourne hopes to utilise in order to validate his high opinion of the young
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