Ah, Heaven help a strong man’s tender weakness for the woman he loves! Heaven pity him when the guilty creature has deceived him and comes with her tears and lamentations to throw herself at his feet in self-abandonment and remorse; torturing him with the sight of her agony; rending his heart with her sobs, lacerating his breast with her groans—multiplying her sufferings into a great anguish for him to bear! multiplying them by twenty-fold; multiplying them in a ratio of a brave man’s capacity for endurance. Heaven forgive him, if maddened by that cruel agony, the balance wavers for a moment, and he is ready to forgive anything; ready to take this wretched one to the shelter of his breast, and to pardon that which the stern voice of manly honor urges must not be pardoned. Pity him, pity him! (Chapter XXX online) (vol II chapter 11?)
This passage occurs right after Lady Audley is caught with smiling a triumphant wicked smile. Knowing that she has the confidence to manipulate things to her favor, this passage is the aftermath of what happens when a man believes the woman he loves.
This passage, at first glance, describes a man in absolute pain from the deceit his woman has fed him. It describes a man who has the capacity to feel more than what his woman could feel, absolutely destroying his whole heart with the amount of suffering he is managing when seeing his woman cry. Could it be that love makes man empathetic? Or what about the pity aspect? What is exactly so pitiful in this situation?
This passage reminds me of Adam and Eve. To the narrator, Lady Audley probably appears as a tempting seductive snake… or maybe even Eve herself. With the premise that George could be the narrator of this novel, this passage would make sense if Lady Audley were to be represented as Eve. It was previously mentioned how Robert hates women (chapter 24 online). I think that him hating Eve as well is a safe assumption. Throughout this novel, he has mourned the disappearance of his friend George. He is distraught that such an event could have happened to him. Just like how many blame Eve for the fall of all mankind, he blames Lady Audley for the “fall” of George. He pities Sir Audley for being such a fool for being tempted and taking a bite of Lady Audley’s “truth”.