Was it possible to quarrel with a creature who had such eyes—defying and deprecating, contradicting and clinging, imperious and beseeching—full of delicious opposites? To see such a creature subdued by love for one would be a lot worth having.
This quotation occurs as a thought of Stephen Guest's at the end of Chapter VI in Book Sixth. It participates in the symbolism of Maggie's eyes, referred to throughout the novel, as expressive of her particularly deep character. The quotation, occurring as it does before Stephen and Maggie have voiced their mutual attraction, also foreshadows the dangerous instability that Stephen offers Maggie. Maggie has been wracked by competing impulses within her throughout the novel. This is part of her tragic character, yet here, Stephen finds this opposition "delicious." We also see that Stephen's love for Maggie is based on unsound principles: egoism, attraction to her novelty, and an impulse to dominate her.