In Maria Edgeworth's 1801 novel, Belinda, the character Clarence Hervey is yearning to be with a beautiful woman, but is horribly turned down by Hervey's own persistent sense of pride, concerning the idea of dimissing an arranged marriage. Through tone and point of view, Hervey's multifaceted character is revealed.
The tone of the piece is very strong, it is one that was developed though anger. The narrator shows Hervey's confidence in everything he does, making him seem pompous. Although Hervey has good characteristics, the narrator chooses to focus on his weaknesses and negative aspects. Hervey is described as a man of genius; and he imagined that as such, making the tone almost conceded, making the reader distrust Hervey due to his superior and snob attitude. The narrator then states he was entitled to be imprudent, wild, and eccentric demonstrating his overblown character not having a care in the world. Hervey is praised by everyone, which contributes to his rude actions. Hervey acts reckless, because of all the praise he receives going to his head, no matter what he does, he can do no wrong.
This piece is written in third person, clearly showing the observations and opinions of Clarence Hervey and his relations, from the narrators point of view. The first few lines describe Hervey as being potentially pleasant if he wasn't smitten with the desire of being thought superior in everything. The narrator continues make observations of Hervey's chameleon character, which sheds light on Hervey wanting to fit in with men, women, and his surroundings, changing his character at the drop of a hat, blending in with his environment. However, despite his eager and willingness to fit in, he is not willing to comply with Mrs.Stanhope's idea of conforming to an arranged marriage with Belinda. He stands strong to his belief, escaping the love trap arranged by the catch-match-maker despite his desire and increasing admiration of Belinda's beauty. The narrator goes on to say how Hervey would frequently find himself within Belinda's sphere, when he realized he was being charmed in like a snake charmer does he drew back with sudden terror. This ultimately results in Hervey's quest to find love himself, instead of an arranged manner.
Edgeworth develops Clearance Hervey's complex character purposely with these literary devices throughout the piece. Maybe analyzing Hervey is a mistake much like Mr.Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is much more to Clerance Hervey than what meets the eye.