The happiness of the Marquis and Marquise is undermined by their mistaken belief that love is subject to one’s slightest whims and desires, and that there is no price to be paid for emotional autonomy. But it is the very paying of that price that makes love stronger and more perfect. Attempting to play the game without following that rule will leave us disqualified before the starting gun has even sounded. And that would be a great tragedy, because, as we know in our quietest and clearest moments, this game is the only one worth playing.
...the Path of Least Resistance always looks good at that first crossroad. But over time, the burdens of sorrow and regret that it slowly adds to our lives prove far more tiring and troublesome than the more difficult choice. The true "long con" is the one we work upon ourselves, seeking ease and success at the expense of the Right and True. That way madness lies.
The sad and dangerous truth is that we increasingly equate love with "eros," habitually confusing the complex, multifaceted reality that lies at the very core of our humanity with a physical, all-consuming passion that burns brightly and gloriously and yet quickly fades. If that's all love is, then why should we be expected to remain standing, and faithful, in the burned-out husk of our once-glorious romances?
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman has said, "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." We must strain and struggle to remember that distinction, particularly in times like these. The dichotomy between the mistrust we now feel in our fellow humans and the trust we must always have in the strength and omniscient power of the Divine Comforter has never been clearer for those of our generation.
Sadly, Higgins treats her like a guttersnipe even when she is dressed like a lady. But Pickering treats her like a lady even when she seems like nothing more than a poor, ignorant guttersnipe. He genuinely cares for her and her well-being—the perfect foil to Higgins' calloused indifference and selfish motivations.
To embrace maturity at the expense of wonder would be a terrible mistake, yet it is a mistake that modern society makes with regularity. Our adult instinct is to reject the fantastical and wonder-filled for more "grounded" pursuits, but the Socratic suggestion that wisdom ushers in wonder should give us pause. As Chesterton reminds us, "The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder." And it is that warning that lies at the heart of The Fall.