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Written by Julia Catherine
(3/27/2009 1:13 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Does anybody else have any sympathy for Isabella?, penned by Cathy Allen
I have no sympathy for Isabella, especially considering her position as an unmarried woman in that time and place. It is hard to understand what a woman was faced with at that time, and so I reference Charlotte Lucas' views for context. "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want."
Seen from this perspective, Isabella Thorpe had phenomenal luck. She had secured a kind, loving, indulgent husband that was willing to completely overlook her lack of dowry and uncouth family. He put her on a pedestal and refused to see her considerable personal flaws. In addition, James Morland was an educated man that came from a solid, upstanding family and had a modest, but secure, living promised. Even practical Mrs. Morland thought that Isabella was marrying up: "Otherwise there is no harm done in the match going off; for it could not be a desirable thing to have him engaged to a girl whom we had not the smallest acquaintance with, and who was so entirely without fortune; and now, after such behaviour, we cannot think at all well of her."
However, instead of following Charlotte Lucas' example and thanking her lucky stars for a good connection with a secure future, she decided to throw it all away for a slim chance at more money and status. Furthermore, in order to get the larger fortune, she willing to trade a gentle, considerate husband for a callous, selfish tyrant. It is not as if she was attracted to Captain Tilney by his polite and charming manner, and she certainly was not motivated by true love. Greed was Isabella's undoing, plain and simple.
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