Comedy/tragedy of manners

Point of View



Light, easy-going, at times almost conversational; unsentimental; ironic




The 1870s; “three or four years” before the telling of the story, in Vevey, Switzerland (Chapters 1 and 2); Rome, Italy (Chapters 3 and 4)


Mrs. Costello’s attempt to warn Winterbourne against making “a great mistake” about Daisy (Chapter 2) looks forward to his too-late understanding of her at the end of the novel. The scene in which Winterbourne sees Daisy walking above the burial mounds at the Palace of the Caesars (Chapter 4), like the numerous references to “the Roman fever” (Chapters 3 and 4), prefigures her death.

Major Conflict

Daisy’s refusal to conform to the strict European laws of propriety that govern behavior, particularly relations between young unmarried people of the opposite sex, raises eyebrows among Rome’s high society.

Rising Action

Winterbourne meets Daisy and is charmed and intrigued but also mystified by her.


Winterbourne finds Daisy alone with Giovanelli in the Coliseum and decides she is too unprincipled to continue troubling himself about.

Falling Action

Daisy realizes that she has lost Winterbourne’s respect, falls ill, sends a message to him through her mother, and dies.