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As each act is a force, it has a tendency to repeat. However, when the force of the act is insufficient for repetition or meets an obstacle that prevents it from accomplishing in a particular direction, the energy of the act may reverse course and express in a direction opposite to the original act.

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Darcy spurns the opportunity to dance with Eliza, and then Eliza spurns his first request to dance and his first marriage proposal. Eliza’s rejection is a repetition of Darcy’s rejection of Eliza; but it is also a reversal, in the sense that it moves in the opposite direction. Darcy’s refusal comes back on him.

Eliza spurns the opportunity to dance with Darcy, which is a prelude to his later marriage proposal. The immediate result is that she gets a marriage proposal from Collins. Her rejection of Darcy leads to a proposal from Collins, which she also rejects. Her rejection comes back to her in the form of another proposal.

Eliza facetiously asks Collins whether it would be appropriate for him to attend the Netherfield ball. Her intention is to discourage him from attending. He responds by asking her for the first two dances, which she had hoped to reserve for Wickham. “Her liveliness had never been worse timed.” Her clever comment is insufficient to discourage Collins who sees the dance as an opportunity to promote his courtship with her, so it provides him with an unexpected opening to further his plan. Her cleverness backfires.

Darcy, who wants to violate social norms by marrying Eliza, is forced to reverse his interference with Bingley and Jane’s marriage and to actively foster Lydia’s marriage with Wickham. He has to reverse his attitude to interclass marriages by others before he can marry Eliza.

In her self-righteous anger at Darcy, Eliza asserts false family pride. She later is forced to reverse it by acquiring a sense of humility with regard to the disgraceful behavior of her family.

Caroline tries to separate Jane and Bingley by encouraging his sudden departure from Netherfield and by concealing from him Jane’s presence in London. Later she has to reverse her opposition and graciously accept Jane as a sister-in-law. She is also trying to put down Elizabeth at every opportunity. But after her marriage to Darcy, she has to drop all her resentment in order to be welcome at Pemberley.

At Netherfield ball Elizabeth rejoiced in the idea that her mentioning Wickham to Darcy will discourage Darcy from further contact with her. Later she feels mortified for having revealed to Darcy information about Lydia’s elopement with Wickham, for fear that it will permanently keep Darcy away[1]. Her rejoicing reverses as regret.

Mrs. Bennet takes pleasure in triumphing over Lady Lucas with the prospect of Jane’s early marriage to Bingley. When Collins proposes to Charlotte, Lady Lucas called often at Longbourn in triumph to take revenge on Mrs. Bennet[2]. The sense of triumphing reverses direction.

Darcy conceals Jane’s presence in London from Bingley. At Rosings Fitzwilliam unintentionally reveals to Eliza Darcy’s interference between Jane and Bingley. The original act of intentional concealment gets reversed as an act of unintentional disclosure[3].


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