Over the past few days, I've been watching a BBC miniseries version of the book Vanity Fair
. At the heart of the story is the love of a man named William Dobbin for a woman named Amelia Sedley, who has her heart set on another man. Even after her beloved's death, she continues to pine after him for years while Dobbin waits and takes care of her and her son, hoping that some day she will come to love him. Finally, in the last seconds of the film and last pages of the book, Amelia comes to realize that her original lover was unworthy and that Dobbin has been the one who has always cared for her faithfully.
Throughout the story, it's hard to see Amelia and Dobbin as equals, because clearly they're not. While sweet, Amelia is weak, deceived, and a bit silly at times. Dobbin, on the other hand, is faithful, loyal, and unselfish, to the point of giving his life for someone he knows may never love him.
And that's how it's meant to be. What we're meant to feel at the end is not an equal measure of happiness for two equal characters. This is no Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. What we see is a beautiful picture of the fact that pure love gives worth to things that are not worthy. In herself, Amelia Sedley is clearly unworthy of the stunning grace that Dobbin shows to her, but by showing her that grace, he conveys its worth on her.
At the end of Vanity Fair
, we don't feel sorry for Dobbin, because we know that he sees Amelia as worthy, and that's the truly important thing.
Reminds me a little bit of the human condition. In what other ways have you seen grace given to the unworthy?