Posted by Helen on December 01, 1997 at 14:58:33:
In response to You can't? I think it is entirely believable., written by Mark on November 28, 1997 at 17:59:46
] ] On the other hand, I simply cannot imagine Darcy actually invinting her to dance!!!!
] Darcy is trying to become more intimate with Elizabeth. Caroline is playing a lively tune just right for a reel. A reel is a "non-mating" dance. You dance it to have fun, the partner is not as important as in other dances. (Who can converse while dancing a polka, after all.) So it is non-threating.
] Put yourself in poor Darcy's shoes. Here is a girl you find bewitching. She's not bad looking. (He said she was tolerable, after all; nothing about being a toad!) She is extremely bright and witty. In every conversation they have she toys with him, but she does it without putting on airs -- "neither of us perform to strangers." This is extremely alluring to him.
Put yourself in Elizabeth's shoes... the only thing you really think you know about Mr. Darcy is that he despises you, your family, and your entire acquaintance, out of what you have decided is pure snobbery. The defining moment of your relationship with him, as far as you are concerned, came at its very beginning when he refused to dance with you - the most basic, preliminary step in getting to know someone (because it's one of the few socially accepted times when you can go off alone with someone of the opposite sex whom you've just met).
Then, at an informal gathering, he says to you, "Do you not feel a great urge to dance a reel?" - now, he may mean this as "let's dance", but you really aren't going to interpret it in this way. Maybe Darcy does mean, let's dance, but his lack of social graces means that it comes out in entirely the wrong way. Note that he doesn't actually ask her to dance with him, merely asks if she wants to dance - to her mind, this is going to be associated with his earlier refusal to dance with her - so she expects him to make a scathing come back, which she is determined to pre-empt.
] He is being drawn inexorably to her, like a moth to a flame. Asking her to dance a reel is precisely in character.
I don't think it is - it's surely too, too lively for him: a gavotte, maybe... or a minuet... but would Darcy really, really, commit himself to any dance where he had to kick his legs in the air?
] So I think asking her to dance the reel is emtirely in character, though not in the character that Lizzy has decided he is.
You may be right... but I still think that the choice of a reel is not a straightforward one... perhaps Darcy does not know his own heart at this moment...
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