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|Marianne's faith in Willoughby
Written by Maisy
(10/11/2006 9:03 a.m.)
It still amazes me, each time I reread S&S, that Marianne doesn't get the hint that Willoughby has moved on. I understand that because of all that passed between them (M & W), she considers herself engaged to Willoughby and him to her. But if, in Marianne's perspective, they are engaged, even if it isn't a formal engagement, then why is she so willing to go on believing in her engagement after Willoughby leaves Barton and never sends a single letter or a message of any kind? And why does she continue to believe in him after the first two letters she writes to him in London go unanswered?
At the beginning of chapter 32, when Elinor relates to Marianne the information about Eliza and Willoughby, we learn that "[Marianne] felt the loss of Willoughby's character yet more heavily than she had felt the loss of his heart." By Marianne's perspective, I interpret this as meaning that Willoughby's behavior with/toward Eliza has ruined his character -- and Marianne feels worse about Willoughby losing his character than she does over losing Willoughby as her love. But to me, this line seems to hint that the loss of the "fairytale" that was Willoughby and Marianne's relationship is actually greater than the loss of what they actually shared together. The loss of what Marianne thought she had with Willoughby is greater than the loss of what she really had with him.
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