Lady Audley is described as a very innocent, Childlike, fragile and blonde lady. But when her real face is disclosed before the audience it is an unexpected shock for them. This novel was later converted into drama by many playwrights. This is a typical melodrama and while converting it into the play the director should adapt the story according to the requirement of the features of melodrama and for that, he has to have the knowledge of the genre called melodrama.
I have already mentioned above that this novel is subtle. It is so because it includes an appalling conspiracy orchestrated by a very innocent looking Victorian lady. This conspiracy is both hidden and injurious. It is a subtle novel also because it is difficult to understand the psyche of the protagonist. Her character is complex to analyze. She is villainess but we cannot deny the fact that her circumstance has made her be a villainess.
The term sensation novel was widely practiced in 1860. The term was basically used for the fictions written with surprise and shock. The term can be traced back to the novel Dion Boucicault by Colleen Bawn. It was literally stuffing middle-class audience into the Adelphi Theatre in 1860. This novel was full of mystery, action, and emotions which are the special characteristics of the melodrama. Many of these features of the melodrama passed into the sensational novels, like Wilkie Collins’ “The woman in white” (1860), Dickens “Great Expectations” (1860-61), and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “Lady Audley’s Secret.”
The plays were adapted from this novel by many playwrights. Among them are George Robert (1863), William Suiter(1863), Tom Taylor (1865), Henry Dunbar (America, 1866), There are ten major characters which include Lady Audley, Sir Michael Audley, Robert Audley (his nephew), George Talboys, Luke Marks, Bibbles, Alicia (Sir Michael’s daughter), Phoebe Marks, and a servant Martin. .