September 1840 to October 1841
This chapter tells the story of Kierkegaard's ill-fated courtship with Regina Olsen. It deals with Kierkegaard's mindset at the time and how he had coped with the challenges to his fleeting romance. The chapter covers five distinct periods of the courtship as delineated by Kierkegaard himself—from the first few months of the engagement, during which time Kierkegaard had been especially chivalrous and charming to Olsen, to Kierkegaard's own attempt to break it off, by attempting to wean her from him by pretending that he was a scoundrel who had only been playing with her affections. To conclude, the chapter forms comparisons between Kierkegaard and Hamlet, and invites the reader to engage in a purifying, Aristotelian “pity” for this unfortunate chapter in Kierkegaard's life.
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