in Bertrams

Chapter 17 – Retrospective–First Year


George wrote Caroline a letter stating that he would be patient in awaiting her reply to his proposal.  Caroline was aggravated with the letter as she sensed in it a tone of “triumph.”  The word “triumph” recalls the large public observances of military success in ancient Rome. The parallel with military observances also emphasizes the notion that Caroline sees their relationship in terms of military victory or surrender.  Their relationship will play a part in illustrating Trollope’s opening thesis of vae victis.  [KS 2012]


world’s battle

Caroline believes that she desires George to be less passionate and to view their relationship as a union to fight in the “world’s battle.” Again we find the notion that their relationship is some sort of battle and is understood in terms of military activity, but it is taken further in this instance.  Although they are in conflict with one another, in Caroline’s terms they should be united and be in conflict with the world around them.  [KS 2012]


jovial days at Richmond, jovial Bacchanalian nights in London

Because Caroline has been postponing their wedding, George has been shirking his work.  Instead of studying law, he spends time enjoying himself.  The repeated use of “jovial” associates George with Jove or Jupiter, which may be apt when we consider Trollope’s strong association of Caroline with Juno, Jupiter’s consort.  George’s nights in London are “Bacchanalian,” as well; that is, they are connected with the celebrations of Bacchus, god of wine.  Trollope generates humor by using mythological resonances to describe George’s partying.  [RR 2012]