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Brideshead Revisited

  • Study Guide
Characters

Lady Cordelia Flyte

Characters Lady Cordelia Flyte

Cordelia, the youngest Marchmain child, acts as the voice of spiritual truth throughout the novel. Although not a perfect Catholic, being too willful to become a nun, Cordelia emulates and understands divine grace better than her siblings. While Bridey gets so caught up in the theory and rules of Catholicism that he drives people away from faith, Cordelia understands that people come to God in their own time and offers compassion instead of judgement. Cordelia has no interest in romantic or sexual love and instead devotes herself to caring for others, volunteering with an ambulance in the Spanish Civil War. When she returns from Spain, the love that she shows to her family is such that Charles sees through her outward plainness to her soul, demonstrating a triumph of spiritual over worldly love. Finally, Charles observes that Cordelia loves consistently, evoking the unconditional, constant nature of God’s grace.