At the end of the last chapter Edward cries: "Must I become after all what you would make me?" In the grip of his inner demons projected into the hell he calls his marriage, he can see no way out. In order to feel his hopelessness we need to see through his eyes the demons he saw. It is possible to play The Cocktail Party, I think, as such a tame drawing-room comedy that the audience misses a moment when it is possible to look into hell itself. Irene Worth, who played Celia in the original Edinburgh production of The Cocktail Party, reported that there was only one time that Eliot intervened during the rehearsals. It was in the rehearsal of the scene when Edward and Lavinia were quarrelling:

Eliot bolted up to the stage looking quite unsettled. "The wife", he insisted, "must be fierce. Much more fierce. The audience must understand that she is impossible." [quoted in Ackroyd, 1984, p. 294]

What do we imagine provoked this outburst? About whom was Eliot thinking? Lyndall Gordon, in her sensitive study of the characters in the story of the poet's life, suggests one reason Eliot found it impossible to visit Vivienne for the whole of the seventeen years of her 200incarceration in a mental hospital: "Eliot never visited Vivienne in the asylum, not, I imagine, out of callousness, but because he must have feared the compelling power of her strong Welsh shriek" (Gordon, 1988, p. 148). Gordon does not document this suggestion, leaving us to imagine that it might have been the result of her intimate study of this couple plus perhaps evidence like this well-documented outburst at the rehearsal for The Cocktail Party.