subtle doom, such as fell on all the first-born in Egypt

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 26) | Genius

Quotation: My hopes were all dead—struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooming and glowing; they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive. I looked at my love: that feeling which was my master’s—which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr. Rochester’s arms—it could not derive warmth from his breast.

Context: Jane had known her bridegroom, Mr. R, was married.
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

The first-born… => This is what the LORD says: "About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh… Plagues of Egypt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Subtle => 11.11 Working imperceptibly or secretly, insidious; as in my thread my blood felt their subtle violence as it had never felt frost or fire

Doom => 3 b : DEATH, RUIN (from M-W dictionary)

The sentence => My hopes were all dead—struck with a subtle doom (= a insidious death), such as (= the subtle doom = a insidious death), in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt (=all the first-born …. were killed).
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    My hopes were all dead—struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt.

    My hopes were all dead—struck with a selective curse, in the same way that, in a single night, a selective curse came upon all the first-born in the land of Egypt [who all died.]
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    In this sense it means subtle (finely discerning) in its effects: the nearest word English now has is "selective"
    OED
    Subtle: A. adj.
    I. Non-physical senses.
    1. Of a person, the mental faculties, or intellectual activity: characterized by wisdom or perceptiveness; discriminating, discerning; shrewd.

    1907 J. Conrad Secret Agent xi. 327 Mr Verloc..had modified Stevie's view of the police by conversations full of subtle reasonings.


    There is a possibility of another meaning
    2. a. Of a person or animal: crafty, cunning, esp. in a deceitful or treacherous way; sly, wily; devious, underhand.
    But I would think that less likely, as the Egypian plagues are described as the acts of the Christian God and thus to be considered as "just".:rolleyes:
     
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