74 pages 2 hours read

George Eliot

Daniel Deronda

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1876

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Important Quotes

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“But Gwendolen did not like to dwell on facts which threw an unfavorable light on herself.”

(Book 1, Chapter 6, Page 42)

Gwendolen possesses the ability to ignore the parts of the world that do not adhere to her idealized perception of reality. If a fact is inconvenient to her, either because it makes her doubt herself or contradicts her beliefs, she simply exorcizes it from her life. Part of the tragedy of Gwendolen’s marriage stems from her justification of marrying him despite his negative qualities, just as she suppresses thoughts that might puncture her perception of reality.

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“And I feel sure that with a little murdering he might get a title.”

(Book 1, Chapter 9, Page 75)

Gwendolen jokes about Grandcourt’s proximity to titles and wealth, suggesting that he would only need to kill a few people to gain a great inheritance. Her words are laden with tragic irony, given the way in which her marriage will unfold. She will grow to resent Grandcourt and will be implicated in his death, to the point that she fears she killed him.

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“She was the central object of that pretty picture, and every one present must gaze at her.”

(Book 1, Chapter 10, Page 89)

In Gwendolen’s perfect world, she is the protagonist. The structure of the novel briefly indulges her desire to be the center of attention, before eventually pulling back to reveal Daniel Deronda as the story’s protagonist. Gwendolen’s delusion, therefore, plays out in a structural sense, supporting her belief in her own importance before revealing her to be less consequential than she believes.