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|A Hartfield edition of Shakespeare
Written by Barbara
(4/4/2008 11:58 a.m.)
"When Miss Smiths and Mr. Eltons get acquainted -- they do indeed -- and really it is strange; it is out of the common course that what is so evidently, so palpably desirable -- what courts the pre-arrangement of other people, should so immediately shape itself into the proper form. You and Mr. Elton are by situation called together; you belong to one another by every circumstance of your respective homes. Your marrying will be equal to the match at Randalls. There does seem to be a something in the air of Hartfield which gives love exactly the right direction, and sends it into the very channel where it ought to flow.
I love how it invites comparison between this story and Shakesepare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. But it also shows something about Emma's habit of starting but not finishing her reading, since this quotation is from Act I Scene i!
First of all, it makes you wonder just how far Emma got in her reading of this play? Did she not see how things could go awry when there was interference with matchmaking?
Secondly, the line she quotes is by Lysander as he and Hermia are trying to figure out what to do about the fact that they are being forcibly split up by someone who thinks that the man he has chosen for his daughter is better than the person she would choose for herself. Egeus doesn't really care how either of the two people in the couple feel, only that he knows best.
Egeus objects that Lysander has 'bewitched' his daughter:
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
Do there not seem to be some similarities between the way that Lysander tried to show his feelings for Hermia, and Harriet's description in Ch. 4 of the way Mr. Martin had behaved toward her?
The sort of comparison Emma is actually making between what's going on in Hartfield and in MSND seems to be lost on her. Any thoughts?
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