Downton Abbey
Critical Contexts

By Category By Season Assignment

People Places
  • Lloyd George (S1, E1)
  • Andromeda and Perseus (S1, E2)
  • Emily Davidson (S1, E5)
  • Mr. Asquith (S1, E5)
  • "The Kaiser" (S1, E6)
  • Marx (S1, E6)
  • Ruskin (S1, E6)
  • John Stuart Mill (S1, E6)
  • H. G. Wells (S1, E7)
  • Florence Nightingale (S2, E2)
  • Marie Stopes (S4, E3; S5, E2; S5, E3; S5, E6)
  • George McDonald (S5, E1; S5, E7)
  • Rosa Luxemburg (S5, E2)
  • Douglas Fairbanks (S5, E2)
  • The Brontes (S5, E3)
  • Elinor Glyn (S5, E3)
  • Mrs. Humphrey Ward (S5, E5)
  • Ellen Terry (S5, E5)
  • John Singer Sargent (S5, E5)
  • Yorkshire
  • London
  • Boston
  • York
  • Manchester (S1, E1)
  • Moorefields Eye Hospital (S1, E7)
  • Territorial Force Hospital (S1, E7)
  • Lucknow (S2, E1)
  • Boodles (S5, E2)
  • The Ritz (S5, E3)
  • Claridge's (S5, E3)
  • Simpson's (S5, E5)
Cultural References
  • telegraph wires (S1, E1)
  • "It's electricity, not the devil's handiwork" (S1, E1; S2, E1)
  • The Times (S1, E1)
  • The Sketch (S1, E1)
  • breakfast in bed (S1, E1)
  • Isis [dogs at country manor houses] (S1, E1)
  • "girls can't inherit" [entail] (S1, E1)
  • "Long John Silver" [Thomas of Mr. Carson] (S1, E1)
  • "company law" (S1, E1)
  • Boer War (S1, E1)
  • The Titanic (S1, E1)
  • "penny dreadful" (S1, E1)
  • "It’s your father's house, isn't it? You've got a right to know what goes on in it" [servants' privacy] (S1, E1)
  • "If you're not careful, you'll end up behind bars" [homosexual relations] (S1, E1; S3, E7; S5, E2)
  • cottage hospital (S1, E2)
  • "What is a weekend?" (S1, E2)
  • dropsy (S1, E2)
  • "He chooses his clothes himself" [role of valets] (S1, E2)
  • "We can say what we like down here" [servants' hall] (S1, E2)
  • "The Grizzly Bear" [dance] (S1, E2)
  • "On the halls" [hall boys] (S1, E2)
  • "a correspondence course in typing and shorthand" [employment opportunities] (S1, E3)
  • "an attaché at the Turkish embassy" (S1, E3)
  • "an English hunt" (S1, E3)
  • "a limp corrector" [advertisement, medical cure] (S1, E3)
  • "something out of a Trollope novel" [Napier about the hunt] (S1, E3)
  • "You've got a wonderful library" [servants' access to libraries] (S1, E4)
  • traveling fairs (S1, E4)
  • "Beecham's Powder" (S1, E4)
  • "But no one learns anything from a governess!" [Sybil on women’s education] (S1, E4)
  • "But I'm a Socialist, not a revolutionary" [Socialism in Britain, pre-WWI] (S1, E4)
  • "I hope you won't chain yourself to the railings and end up being force-fed semolina" [women’s suffrage movement] (S1, E4)
  • "every Tom, Dick, and Harry" (S1, E4; S2, E8)
  • "Gunga Din" (S1, E4)
  • flower show (S1, E4)
  • the cottages (S1, E4)
  • "damaged goods" [reputation for women who engage in premarital sex] (S1, E4)
  • "freedom for Ireland" [Irish independence movement] (S1, E5; S2, E3; S3, E4)
  • "first season" [debutante balls] (S1, E5; S1, E7; S4, E8; S4, CS)
  • canvassing for votes (S1, E5)
  • "chance of bettering myself" [William, Daisy on professional advancement] (S1, E6; S5, E1; S5, E3)
  • "really smart people sleep in separate rooms" (S1, E6)
  • garden party (S1, E7)
  • telephone (S1, E7)
  • Auxiliary nurse (S2, E1)
  • "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform" [hymn] (S2, E1)
  • “all those horrid newspapers” [newspaper industry] (S2, E1)
  • "Burke's Peerage or Burke's Landed Peerage" (S2, E1)
  • "A white feather" [cowardice] (S2, E1)
  • divorce laws (S2, E1; S4, E4; S5, E4)
  • Photoplay (S2, E1)
  • shortage of servants during WWI (S2, E2)
  • "I'd live in sin with you!" [Anna to Bates] (S2, E1)
  • "this driving mania" [women driving cars] (S2, E1)
  • "you're too far above me, but things are changing" [cross-class relationships and marriages] (S2, E1; S2, E8)
  • "So the fashion for cocktails before dinner hasn't reached Yorkshire" (S2, E2; S5, E1; S5, E5)
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden (S2, E2)
  • Toad of Toad Hall [Violet about Edith driving a tractor] (S2, E2)
  • "I'm going to be a 'conscientious objector'" [Branson to Sybil] (S2, E3)
  • "shell shock" (S2, E2; S2, E3; S5, E3)
  • "Would they ever allow it? Would they even consider it?" [country estates as hospitals during WWI] (S2, E2; S2, E3)
  • "the Marconi Scandal" (S2, E3)
  • "Lady Mary's new curling iron" (S2, E3)
  • "black market business"  (S2, E7)
  • influenza epidemic (S2, E8)
  • prison conditions (S2, CS; S3, E6)
  • "it’s a board for planchette" [communing with the dead] (S2, CS)
  • railway investments (S3, E1)
  • country estates, post-WWI (S3, E2; S4, E6; S5, E3; S5, E4)
  • prostitution (S3, E2; S3, E6)
  • journalism (S3, E4; S3, E5)
  • childbirth (S3, E5)
  • Catholicism in England (S3, E6)
  • cricket (S3, E8; S5, E2)
  • infertility (S3, E8)
  • electric kitchen whisk (S4, E1)
  • sexual assault (S4, E3)
  • contraception (S4, E4; S5, E2; S5, E3; S5, E6)
  • African Americans in England, post-WWI (S4, E4)
  • jazz (S4, E4; S4, E6)
  • refrigerator (S4, E5)
  • emigration to the United States (S4, E5; S5, E1; S5, E3; S5, E8; S5, CS)
  • pig farming (S4, E6)
  • cooking school (S4, E6)
  • dining out (S4, E6)
  • socialism, post-WWI (S4, E6)
  • abortion (S4, E7)
  • The Second Mrs Tanqueray [marriage to women with a known sexual past] (S4, E7)
  • perceptions of the United States, post-WWI (S4, CS)
  • foster children (S5, E1)
  • "they prefer to be in factories or shops" [servants] (S5, E1)
  • "memorial to the war" [local WWI memorials] (S5, E1; S5, E2; S5, E3; S5, E4)
  • Accounting course (S5, E1)
  • Fire brigade (S5, E1)
  • "my fingerprints were everywhere" [criminal detection] (S5, E1)
  • "It sounds a bit Bohemian" (S5, E2)
  • A wireless (S5, E2)
  • Russian refugees (S5, E2; S5, E3; S5, E4)
  • British Empire Exhibition (S5, E2)
  • "that side of things is right" [sex before marriage, physical compatibility] (S5, E2; S5, E3)
  • "now I'd be there at least until I was fourteen" [compulsory education for working class] (S5, E3; S5, E6)
  • Women's makeup (S5, E3)
  • "my father was Jewish and the money was new" [Cora, on her marriage] (S5, E3)
  • Electrotherapy [cure for homosexuality] (S5, E3; S5, E4; S5, E5; S5, E6)
  • Brownshirts (S4, CS; S5, E4; S5, E6)
  • Jewish pogroms (S5, E5)
  • Publishing house (S5, E6)

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Last update: August 2015

Site Editor: Karin E. Westman, Associate Professor of English, Kansas State University

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