Despite the obvious importance of Esther Summerson, Lady Honoria Dedlock dominates Bleak House. She either initiates or becomes the object of nearly all of the most interesting or exciting actions in the story. Tulkinghorn's pursuit of her secret, her attempts to evade his snares, her boldness and courage in seeking out Captain Hawdon's burial place and in punishing herself by self-exile and what amounts to suicide — all this is considerably more interesting than anything that happens to Esther. The somewhat odd thing, experienced by some readers as a weakness in the novel, is that Lady Dedlock's domination of the book is not matched by her connection with the story's main theme. There is a connection but it is not a strong one. To press his biggest point (theme) home, Dickens
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