Physiognomic practice is always already essentialist insofar as it assumes to show how someone or something truly is. The idea of human character as a static essence was replaced by a more dynamic concept which also allowed for perceived inconsistencies: this posed considerable difficulties for essentialist positions. Others, like Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf, shared Eliot's skepticism about character consistency, and developed it into concepts of fragmented character and character hybridity. Woolf's novel, however, opened up new possibilities for the otherwise outdated semiotic model: as human artefacts, works of art still seemed to possess a stable signifier and signified. The structural analogy between physiognomics and realism allows us to conclude that the end of the one clearly marked the end of the other, since both rested on the same assumptions about the symbolic character of the world and of physiognomies.