One of her guest, Gouvernail, makes a reference to desire as "a graven image," as a thing in itself to be worshipped, when he quotes the first two lines from Swinburne's "The Cameo" in response to Victor's splendid appearance at the dinner table. With their combined histories of courting the unattainable, Edna and Robert have spent years desiring for the sake of desiring, erecting emotional facades. Their current obsession with each other, more substantial than any other previously experienced, is more dangerous for the physical passion Edna brings to it. The ominous Swinburne line "Painted with red blood on a ground of gold" casts the entire venture of love as bound for failure and catastrophe, although it may be a grand, golden disaster. Desire is an ancient and sometimes brutal urge, as indicated in Swinburne's phrase "graven image," which evokes images of harsh primal gods. The strength of desire is evident when Edna feels
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.