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Whether he acts as tyrant or abnegates his authority, the king's sins come to pass because he has no sense of obligation to his subjects, sees no world outside his own will and desires.
Hemingway does not have Catherine abnegate herself to Frederic Henry; rather, she abnegates herself, when she does so, to an idea in her head.
Self-abnegating deference, on the other hand, expresses an attitude that is more intuitively self-undermining--to abnegate oneself is, in some sense, to deny or to efface oneself.