Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Demelza's Divided Loyalties?


Honorary Life Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 319
Date: Feb 3 1:40 AM, 2019
RE: Demelza's Divided Loyalties?
Permalink  
 


Hollyhock I agree. Demelza was certainly going through some kind of crisis.  It informed, wrongly as it happens, her decisions during that time.



__________________
SMOLLETT


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Feb 2 6:34 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Smollett, you expressed it well. WG did a wonderful job of capturing the complexities of people, their emotions, and the events that define and sometimes set their loyalties 'at cross-purposes.'

Also, your observations about the 'Hugh dalliance' align with Demelza's self-absorption and dismissiveness. At times she seems to be in a daze. Like the time the Bassets visit Nampara. In the middle of her conversation with Basset, someone she's always been in awe of, she loses concentration as her mind strays to Hugh. This and similar actions are usually associated with someone newly in love but perhaps, rather than being in love with Hugh, she was in love with his romantic trappings. (This is a take on Blackleburr's comment.) Maybe Demelza had an early mid-life crisis.smile

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Saturday 2nd of February 2019 06:41:03 PM

__________________


Honorary Life Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 319
Date: Feb 2 12:58 AM, 2019
Permalink  
 

I always interpreted the Hugh dalliance as a searching, a yearning, that gripped Demelza. Did she long for some adoration, not continuously, but just once? Ross was not prone to expressions of adoration & at this point in their life Demelza wasn't sure of his commitment to, let alone adoration of, her. Too realistic to dwell in this emotional state for long, Demelza, out of compassion for the dying / blinded man, briefly allowed her feelings to overwhelm her inherent sensibility. Anger too may have played a part here as in the Capt McN & Hugh B palaver, but then , of course, Demelza ran. What complex creatures we are. I was thinking recently of that WG quote 'When you bring an idealised relationship down to the level of an ordinary one, it isn't necessarily the ordinary one that suffers..'

__________________
SMOLLETT


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Feb 1 10:12 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

I think you summarized the loyalty issue well Blackleburr. Ross had faced a series of traumatic betrayals--Elizabeth's fickleness; Francis's smelting project snitching; Demelza's plotting behind his back in Verity's elopement. I think he really wanted to be able to trust someone without reservation. So his, 'if I can't trust you now, when could I ever?' question to Demelza when she was to go off to Hugh shows his state of mind. I'm still considering your comment about Demelza staying true to her own heart, but the obvious answer to Ross's question lends credence to it.

Regarding Ross's stance in the Hugh seduction campaign, I think your reference to his comment, 'we have to give freedom to those we love,' is on target and reflects his approach to life and love.

 

 

 



__________________


Student

Status: Offline
Posts: 140
Date: Jan 31 10:43 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

This seems to be getting more and more difficult to summarize - I feel like I'm mostly in agreement with you, Hollyhock, but I certainly do not agree with the reader consensus you've identified about the need for Ross to step in.

I think Ross had a perfectly valid reason for not doing anything about Hugh: namely, that his issue was not with Hugh at all, only with Demelza. As Ross told her himself in TFS, "I think well of Hugh, and can hardly dislike him for admiring you - as long as that is all. No man wants his wife to be a woman that other men don't desire. But every man wants his wife to be a woman that other men don't get. Remember that, will you?" To me, this shows clearly that Ross's concern wasn't about Hugh seducing his wife, but about his wife being disloyal to him. Logically, then, warning off Hugh could not have been on Ross's agenda - if there was anyone he may have wanted to warn, it was Demelza.

And in fact, that's precisely what Ross did - as far back as the immediate aftermath of Hugh's first "magnolia"visit at Nampara, when the following conversation took place:
D: 'His eyes are so dark and sad.'

R: 'They light up when they look at you.'

D: 'I know.'

R: 'So long as your eyes don't light up when you look at him.'

(Interestingly, also, when Demelza can't remember the name of the plant Hugh gave her and calls it "mag - something", Ross suggests it could be "Magdalen" - the biblical fallen woman's name. Would Demelza have taken the hint, do you think?)

Why didn't Ross do anything more - like putting Demelza under lock and key? Because he loved her, and believed - again, using his own words, this time from TAT - that "we have to give freedom to those we love". If that's "passivity", then I must say I rather admire it.

And why didn't Ross make his warnings to Demelza any more stinging? Because he did feel guilty (about May 9th), and therefore felt that he had no right to reproach Demelza - he could only plead with her, which he did repeatedly, if not very successfully.

I guess if Demelza was as attuned to Ross's moods in TFS as she otherwise was, she would have picked up the clues easily - but she wasn't. Instead, most of the time in TFS she was rather selfishly absorbed in her own world - and this has just given me another idea about the divided loyalties: What if they had nothing to do with with Hugh either, only Demelza and Ross? Perhaps what really mattered was that Demelza was torn between a loyalty to her husband and "staying true to her own heart", whatever its present fancy may be?

 



-- Edited by Blackleburr on Thursday 31st of January 2019 11:06:46 PM

__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 31 4:59 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

A stimulating discussion. I agree with most of the sentiments below, except for the fact that we have Demelza herself admitting that her loyalties were divided.

Although reader consensus seems to be that Ross should have stepped in and warned Hugh off, this puts the onus for Demelza's disloyalty, her infidelity, on him. In his defense, I wonder when, exactly, Ross should have done this.

Until Hugh's going away party, Ross didn't realize the depth of Demelza's attraction. After all, she had seen Hugh only twice before and Ross was surprised at the intensity of her emotions. But, as Mrs. Gimlett suggests, he thought Hugh was sailing out of their lives and the threat was over. When next he heard about Hugh, the infamous tryst had already happened and Demelza was deceptively casual about Hugh's return (only their fourth meeting). Ross saw no red flags, especially since Demelza implied that Hugh's groom had 'chaperoned' them.

Then, when they got the invitation to visit Hugh with Dwight and Caroline, Ross was indecisive because, again, caddish Hugh played on his sympathy, and Ross couldn't possibly confront someone who really might have been ill. Moreover, he had Dwight's illness in the back of his mind. He really wanted Demelza to make the decision herself and choose to stay with him rather than go to Hugh. This was the first time he seriously contemplated her disloyalty, thus his 'no room for two men in a woman's heart' observation. Demelza's response, that Caroline 'would not let her stray' was insensitive, offered the possibility that she might if given the chance, and did not reassure Ross of her fidelity. It was unfair of her to place the decision to go or stay on Ross. Another indication of her divided loyalty?

The next time Ross saw him, Hugh was on his death bed and Demelza's grief-stricken reaction, and the poem, revealed all. It was too late to challenge Hugh at that point. But more importantly, this was not in Ross's character. Had Demelza ever indicated that Hugh had annoyed or insulted her, Ross would have stepped in. But he never took the heavy hand with any of Demelza's suitors, or would be suitors--including McNeil and even the odious Monk. He always relied on Demelza's undivided loyalty.

I think this is the stickiest problem in all the books. Demelza saw Hugh only six times, with their meetings stretched out over two or more years. Ross was not aware of their clandestine romance until after the fact. I think Demelza's loyalty was divided while Hugh lived.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Saturday 2nd of February 2019 06:43:14 PM

__________________


Student

Status: Offline
Posts: 153
Date: Jan 30 5:59 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

So well said and I agree completely.  You mention the word "guilt" and I have been thinking of the word a lot after reading "Cordelia" and "The Grove of Eagles" in which there is also infidelity.  No one in the Poldark books or these other two books feel guilt about adultery or really any compassion for the injured party.  Perhaps WG felt that if they had a guilty conscience they wouldn't have done it in the first place.



__________________


Honorary Life Member. Forum Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 899
Date: Jan 29 5:49 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

It wasn't loyalty Demelza felt for Hugh.  Her loyalty was always for Ross.  What she felt for Hugh was a pure animal attraction.  He set his cap at her, even though he was saved from probable death by Ross and would not rest until he got what he wanted.  Hugh seemed to have no idea of loyalty, chivalry or decency in his dealings with either Ross or Demelza.  What he felt for Demelza produced no feelings of guilt even when he was entertaining Ross at Tregothnan.  I have never understood why Ross was so passive, when he knew something was going on, even if he wasn't quite sure how far the relationship had gone.  On other occasions, Ross made his dislike of people quite plain.  I suppose the problem here was that he actually quite liked Hugh and banked on him sailing off with the navy and not returning.

I think Demelza hits the nail on the head when she says he came into her life, unbidden and for a brief while stirred her emotions into a maelstrom, where before she was quite certain Ross was all she ever needed and would need.  Because of her origins, it must have been quite exciting for her and she allowed it to turn her head briefly.  Her strong common sense told her that she wasn't really as Hugh saw her but still she enjoyed his company and even while she read Hugh's poems she was probably still thinking of Ross far more.



__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 28 4:35 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Blackleburr, I totally empathize with your dilemma. Demelza's 'I don't know' claim is evasive and messy. If there was one thing Demelza was always sure of, it was how and what she felt. So this is another indication that she felt a degree of loyalty to Hugh. She didn't want to admit to Ross that she felt deeply for another man. But to outright deny it would demean, in her mind, all that had happened between her and Hugh. So, she equivocated. This would have added to her conflict, her divided loyalties.

As I recall, in his autobiography, WG said that he sometimes felt pulled along by his characters, with no signpost to mark the direction. Perhaps this was the root of Demelza's ambivalence in the book; she decided to keep even WG guessing about her true feelings.smile

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Saturday 2nd of February 2019 12:30:56 AM

__________________


Student

Status: Offline
Posts: 140
Date: Jan 27 9:47 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

I'm glad you took it this way, Hollyhock, as I was having good fun myself writing it up

I agree that there are plenty of clues throughout the books about the more down-to-earth reality of Demelza's affair - I think I just sometimes prefer to treat them as false clues. Because, if they are not false, then the whole "In truth, I don't know how I'm feeling about Hugh" line of Demelza's defence must be a lie: after 10 years of (overally) happy marriage, surely she would have been able to recognize physical attraction when she felt it, and call it by its name. All that's left, then, is that she was deceiving Ross on purpose - and I'm finding that difficult to swallow.

On the other hand, if she believed that there was some higher, artistic purpose involved in her relationship with Hugh, it seems plausible to me that she could have trouble finding the right words to describe it, or maybe even to fully understand it. This doesn't make Demelza any less adulterous, of course, but at least she's not dishonest - and I like her better this way!



__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 26 9:19 AM, 2019
Permalink  
 

I enjoyed your unconventional and FUN argument Blackleburr..but nope, it wasn't loyalty to Art that stirred Demelza. Hugh's little rhymes were flattering, but from the moment Demelza set eyes on him, it was something much less abstract than poetry that impassioned her.smile  As she herself put it:  

'This young man's hawk profile, deeply sensitive dark eyes and gentle urgent voice moved her, strangely. And some danger perhaps existed not so much in the strength of the attack as in the sudden weakness of the defence.'

I agree that Hugh did have some kind of svengali hold on her. But she didn't believe that what she did was for Art's sake. As clever as that proposition is, Demelza's loyalties were divided between husband and lover, not between two symbols or two ideals. Undoubtedly, Ross would have found such a defense as pompous and condescending as Demelza had when he tried to explain his idealistic love for Elizabeth. smile



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Saturday 2nd of February 2019 12:36:08 AM

__________________


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 5
Date: Jan 26 5:51 AM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Interesting Blackleburr, but a bit too abstract for me. Never mind Ross, I wonder what Winston Graham would say about this interpretation.



__________________


Student

Status: Offline
Posts: 140
Date: Jan 26 12:57 AM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Despite that 'electric spark' confession that Hollyhock mentioned, I was never quite convinced by the notion that Demelza felt attracted to Hugh as a man - what appealed to her most, I think, were Hugh's artistic pursuits. That's why she kept his poems, that's why she viewed the Seal Hole Day as an isolated occurrence between two anonymous people (like a piece of art, rather than a real life event), and that's also why she gave Ross such high-flown reasons for her tears after Hugh died. Basically, Hugh convinced her that she was his muse, which made her believe that she was under some sort of obligation towards Art to do whatever the artist demanded of her, and that Hugh's death constituted an irretrievable loss of talent to the world.

Perhaps, then, we could interpret the whole story of Demelza's affair as a struggle between Art (Hugh) and Life (Ross)? Demelza initially thought she could divide her loyalties easily, giving each of them their due, but then realized that she ended up loyal to neither - hence, the agony. Ironically, it never seemed to cross Demelza's mind that she may have served both of them best by just sticking true to Life, as Art tends to be fuelled most efficiently by unrequited love anyways

I wonder what would Ross say, if she put her dilemma to him this way?



-- Edited by Blackleburr on Saturday 26th of January 2019 01:05:06 AM

__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 25 5:32 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Greetings DougW and thanks for reminding me of that scene. I agree that the connection between the two passages seems intentional and is a good catch. WG's use of the term in both passages and Demelza's thoughts about Hugh in the later books certainly implies that she felt some degree of loyalty. The term also links to Demelza's later confession to Clowance that she had felt an 'electric spark' for two men in her life. This echoes Ross's thought that he had loved only two women in his life. However, after his May 9th encounter with Elizabeth, Ross's loyalty to Demelza was undivided. 

I'm glad you mentioned that WG may have thought of loyalty differently because in this context the term is ambiguous. Still, throughout the saga, it's interesting to follow WG's clues, if you will, about his characters' thoughts and actions. Some threads are tied up at the end; others remain maddeningly loose.

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Friday 25th of January 2019 05:48:22 PM

__________________


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 5
Date: Jan 24 8:10 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

I discovered one other instance which may prove relevant. In 'The Four Swans', not long after Demelzas encounter with Hugh on the beach, as Ross and Demelza discuss an unrelated matter, the following exchange occurs.

He made an impatient gesture. `How can I expect you to understand when I cannot clearly explain it to myself? My loyalties are hopelessly at cross-purposes one with another.' 'Sometimes mine are too,' said Demelza from the heart.

 

I think we can infer that here Demelza has in mind her competing feelings for both Ross and Hugh. Because the author uses the word loyalty both in this passage and in Demelza's use of the phrase 'the agony of divided loyalties' in 'The Angry Tide', it is done intentionally. The expression divided loyalties implies to me, some degree of loyalty to both Ross and Hugh. In my mind loyalty encompasses such concepts as fidelity, allegiance and devotion more so than it does affection, infatuation or even love. Though I don't myself see loyalty to Hugh as an element in Demelza's attachment to him, or in his terrible attraction in Demelza's mind, perhaps WG does, or maybe he defines loyalty differently.



-- Edited by DougW on Thursday 24th of January 2019 08:20:34 PM



-- Edited by DougW on Thursday 24th of January 2019 08:38:15 PM

__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 24 6:46 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Thanks, Little Henry. I hope I didn't give the impression that she owed Hugh anything as honorable as loyalty. As for what she felt, I'm not leaning any particular way because I'm not sure she herself knew.  When she and Ross are discussing Clowance's attraction for Stephen in TSFTS, she tells Ross:

'I think she's involved, Ross. Sometimes then it's not possible to be truthful with other people because you don't know what is the truth yourself.'

Whenever I read this I always wonder if Demelza is basing her insight on her experience with HA. Like Demelza, Clowance's 'divided loyalties' between Stephen and her parents caused her a great deal of anguish.  



__________________


Student

Status: Offline
Posts: 153
Date: Jan 24 3:46 AM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Demelza certainly didn't owe Hugh any loyalty.  I think the expression is used often in the plural because there are always two people or things involved.  Demelza knew her loyalty was to Ross and also knew that she gave away trust and loyalty at the Seal Hole Cave.  She thinks later loyalty is "gathered, stored, built up over the years" so she didn't have enough background with Hugh to be loyal.  But she still does feel drawn to him and supports his feelings for her by accepting his poems.  She may have felt a slight loyalty (but not quite the right word) to him because she believed that he loved her above all the women that he had known and she was so eager to please him, make him happy, laugh, flirt and talk with him "without feeling I was being disloyal to the man I really and truly and absolutely love".  In my dictionary it says loyalties are "feelings of devoted attachment and affection".  Demelza had the affection but not the devoted attachment.



__________________


Undergraduate

Status: Offline
Posts: 296
Date: Jan 22 3:51 PM, 2019
Permalink  
 

Here's a new topic to start the year off. We've skirted it before but I don't think this specific question has been addressed. When Demelza is spending time with Verity in TAT, her thoughts turn to Hugh Armitage and we are told the following. 

Sometimes Demelza took out Hugh Armitage's poems and read them over. Had she inspired such passion? An educated young man, a lieutenant in the navy, who claimed he had known many women in his short life and loved only one ... Well, that was gone forever, and she did not want it back, with its pulling at her heartstrings, the agony of divided loyalties. (Bk.3, chpt.1, p.311)

This implies that Demelza was distressed because her allegiances were split between Hugh and Ross.  It's obvious that her tenderness for Hugh caused her disloyalty to Ross. But what are the other 'divided loyalties' she is referring to? Is she implying that she had been equally disloyal to Hugh? If so, in what way?  Since we interpret things differently, are there other perspectives?   

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Tuesday 22nd of January 2019 03:53:50 PM

__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.