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|Fathers and the lack of them
Written by Mary Anne
(10/14/2009 8:25 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The ghost of Hamlet's father, penned by Barbara
You're right---I hadn't thought until now just how the lack of father figures echoes through this novel. In some ways, Hamlet's father is still present (almost too much at times) in Shakespeare's play; to his grieving son he is the image of all that a man should be, to the point where he is shocked that his mother could ever have looked at another man. It does say something about those second attachments, doesn't it? ;-)
This made me wonder about another point of comparison in Brandon and Willoughby's respective "confessions": as noted in many posts further down, Willoughby does his best to make excuses for himself and dodge all blame. Brandon, however, takes rather more of the blame than is his share for what happened to young Eliza. Brandon as her guardian would certainly have done all that is required of him and more to see to her proper upbringing, moral instruction, etc. What happened to her in Bath presses upon him so hard that he blames himself for being too indulgent. It made me wonder what kind of father he'll make later. I think he'd certainly be loving and kind to his children, but his daughters may have a hard time of it! Talk about cleaning the guns when a suitor comes calling . . .
As for the lack of a father in Willoughby's life, I found myself thinking for a moment of Steerforth in Dickens' David Copperfield. "I wish I had had a judicious father . . . I would with all my soul I had been better guided!"
Any sons of Colonel Brandon, I have NO doubt, will be thoroughly instructed in proper and respectful treatment of women.
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