In Chapter 14 of Villette, what is the significance of Lucy's acting?



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Chapter 14 explains how Lucy Snowe is drafted in last minute to replace an actress who was going to perform but was unable to because of illness. Once Lucy gets on the stage, she begins to settle into her role and to become aware of the other actors around her and of the audience. She becomes increasingly aware that Ginevra Fanshawe is acting and delivering her lines as a coquette to someone in the crowd: Dr. John, whom Lucy herself loves and has feelings for. In response to this, Lucy is "animated" with jealousy and throws the energy and emotions that she feels into her "role" on the stage of wooking the character of Ginevera. Note how Lucy tries to "outdo" Ginevra with regard to Dr. John:

In the "Ours," or sincer lover, I saw Dr. John. Did I pity him, as erst? No, I hardened my heart, rivalled and out-rivalled him. I knew myself but a fop, but where he was outcast I could please. Now I acted as if wishful and resolute to win and conquer.

In her longing to "eclipse" Dr. John and the way that he intrudes into the performance through the rival jealousies of Lucy Snow and Ginevra Fanshawe, Lucy gives an excellent performance that surprises even the demanding theatre master, M. Paul.

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