The House of Mirth

by: Edith Wharton

George and Bertha Dorset

George and Bertha Dorset are an extremely wealthy couple trapped in a loveless marriage. Bertha is an obnoxious, manipulative socialite who uses gossip and wealth to get what she wants, including the attention of other men. Initially, Bertha pursues Selden, and later she uses Lily as a distraction for George so she can have an affair with another young bachelor. Bertha then becomes jealous of George’s affection for Lily and spreads rumors that result in Lily’s expulsion from society. In the meantime, George is dragged along through his wife’s escapades, eventually looking for divorce and Lily’s hand in marriage.