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2. [W]ith her whole spirit she prayed that, for a single moment, she might satisfy his highest and deepest conception. Longer than one moment she well knew it could not be; for his spirit was ever on the march, ever ascending . . . [requiring] something that was beyond the scope of the instant before.
This quotation investigates the myriad problems inherent in Aylmer’s quest for perfection. Although Aylmer has managed to con Georgiana into believing that she isn’t worthy of his affection, the narrator reveals here that Aylmer’s insistence on perfection is insane. In fact, this passage makes it clear that even total perfection wouldn’t satisfy him. Georgiana realizes that if she managed to satisfy his demands, her triumph would last only “for a single moment.” After that, he would want still more from her. The removal of the birthmark is something of an artificial goal, and the narrator suggests that Aylmer wouldn’t be happy even if she’d never had the birthmark in the first place. His lust for flawlessness will never be sated—he has become deranged.