Thus now she represents they typical angel-in-the-house image: she works
efficiently at home, is obeying, giving herself away for others, loving order
and always keeping a distant and reasonable view over various things. And David
always calls her “my good Angel”.
So all in all Agnes is the almost ridiculously exaggerated ideal of the perfect
Victorian middle-class housewife. She can rise to anything that is demanded of a
woman at that time and she is the perfect example for domesticity.
However, she is decribed sexually less attractive than Dora is.
To finally sum it up, Dickens sets two types of woman in contrast: on the one
hand Dora, who shows an obviuos non-conformity with the Victorian demands and
expectations towards a woman and instead emphasizes the emotional, sensual and
even sexual qualities of a woman. And on the other hand Agnes, who more or less
symbolizes all the Victorian virtues and shows less emphasis on the erotical and
The main criticism inherent in this contrast is the fact that women were
suppressed in the 19th century society, there was no room for personal
development and either they obeyed to the rules of society or ended up in self
destruction and death. Probably Dickens knew very well that this was not good, but the death of Dora,
who did not fit into society, and the marriage of David to Agnes, who represents
the social virtues of that time, could be a symbol that the society was stronger
than the individual and that the individual either obeyed or inevitably had to
end in self-destruction and death.