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|Sophia’s character & forgetting the letter
Written by Robbin
(10/23/2009 12:40 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Do we have any..., penned by Reeba
As I remember it the only direct testimonies about Sophia’s character are from Mrs. Jennings and Willoughby and the former is at least second-hand and third-hand information. Mrs. Jennings loyally wishes with all her soul that Willoughby’s “wife may plague his heart out” but her description of the bride offers no real support that she is capable or willing to fulfill this wish. In Ch. 30 Mrs. Jennings said:
“I never heard any harm of her”
All this suggests Sophia was willful in her choice and maybe stubborn but it does not support Willoughby’s description of her as malicious, indelicate, cold and unfeminine. In Ch. 50 the narrator says of Sophia. “His wife was not always out of humour, nor his home always uncomfortable!” and considering Willoughby’s obvious lack of affection, respect and gratitude towards Sophia in Ch. 44 it is very possible she is sometimes out of humor with him because he deserves it. I do not get the impression Willoughby is an attentive, good or kind husband. I cannot implicitly believe Willoughby’s description of Sophia because in my opinion he does not deserve so much trust. If there are no other descriptions (did I miss any?) of Sophia’s temper and personality to support his then I do not think there is any real evidence she is the witch he describes.
"Well, let me make haste and be gone. Your sister is certainly better, certainly out of danger."
The purpose of Willoughby’s confession seems to be to explain away his actions and be forgiven. It is as much a sales pitch as a confession. If he particularly wished to explain the letter as he suggests above then I agree it is odd he had to be prompted to do so. It does not seem likely he would forget. Perhaps he really did not want to explain the letter. If Sophia saw Marianne’s letter it is reasonable that Willoughby was forced to explain, make a final break with Marianne and return his trophies in order to save the engagement. It may have made him feel humiliated to do it. He said “in a situation like mine, anything was to be done to prevent a rupture.” He describes himself as “servilely copying such sentences as I was ashamed to put my name to” and the word servilely, “slavishly submissive or obsequious” (dictionary.com) does in a fair way suggest humiliation. I readily believe it as he is used to having the upper hand in his relationships with women. Rachel G cleverly noted Willoughby did not bring up the duel (see attached) because he may have “felt humiliated in some way by the encounter” so it may be that this is also why he did not bring up the letter. (:D)
|Omission of the duel. Written by Rachel G|
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