Is Maxim De Winter Truly a Victim in Rebecca ?

In Rebecca, the big reveal at the climax of the film is that Maxim did not love his deceased wife at all. He even admits to the 2nd Mrs. De Winter that he accidentally murdered her and framed her death as a freak boating accident.

At several points throughout the film, the audience is probed to feel bad for Maxim. He contemplates suicide on the Monte Carlo shoreline when he is introduced in the film. Mrs. Van Hopper refers to him as a “broken man”. The entire Manderley staff pities their widower master. Behind closed doors, his sociopathic wife taunted him and threatened to bring bastard children into his life.

Even when all of these horrible things are afflicted onto Maxim, one could argue he is not truly a victim. The patriarchal, capitalist framework he exists within allows for Maxim to live in a luxurious manor and court a new, younger wife. When the 2nd Mrs. De Winter gives Maxim an outlet to find happiness, he denies her his affection and continues self loathing.

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