Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Blemishes on Virtue
Written by Robbin
(9/14/2009 11:30 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Leading Marianne astray, penned by Barbara
I think Marianne is so in love with Willoughby that he can do no wrong in her eyes. She is, to use a very common phrase, blinded by love. I have never considered the implications of Willoughby’s cheating at cards—that he does it to assure Marianne wins does not gentle the act; it is inherently dishonest and unfair to the other players. Cheating is incompatible with this definition of virtue from dictionary.com: “conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude” It is also inconsiderate of the other card players for it must spoil their fun. Marianne and Willoughby owe some consideration to the party but their sensibilities do not seem to extend beyond themselves—it is the kindness of their companions that they are only “most exceedingly laughed at” (Ch. 11) for such selfish and unsociable behavior. Additionally, cheating at cards is not Willoughby’s only sin against virtue. He lives beyond his means (Ch. 14) which is essentially spending money he does not have. It seems the closer I look at Willoughby the less he lives up to his initial gallantry.
It is interesting that in his first visit to Barton cottage (Ch. 10) Willoughby easily gave way to Marianne’s rapturous opinions with the narrator suggesting “that any young man of five-and-twenty must have been insensible indeed, not to become an immediate convert to the excellence of such works, however disregarded before” but now Marianne has become the follower. Marianne’s excuse is love but I do not think love can explain why Willoughby caught all her enthusiasms at their first meeting. It is too much for me to believe he was in love at first sight. I think the narrator’s explanation is best (quoted above) but it suggests a consciousness and purpose to Willoughby’s acquiescence. What was his purpose in joining Marianne in her favorite enthusiasms? Only two reasons suggest themselves to me. First to make the invalid happy or to gain her good opinion—of course it could be both. I do not propose it is generally wrong for a young man to desire the good opinion of a beautiful girl but this seems merely another instance of cheating! Instead of the honest exchange of opinion and ideas, perhaps having to compromise on occasion or amiably disagree it seems he just adopted her opinions as the most direct and sure road to approval. Is the great love of Marianne & Willoughby based on lies? (:D)
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.