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|Is Marianne being led astray?
Written by Barbara
(9/26/2012 12:19 a.m.)
Back in the first week's reading, Marianne's hopes for her ideal man included that he would 'have all Edward's virtues' and she spoke of hopes for his 'goodness'.
Willoughby certainly meets her physical and romantic ideal of all she ever hoped for in a hero, and by her estimation, his looks and behaviour are indicators that he is a good and virtuous person.
We've also had a thread going on shared dislike of Marianne for being judgmental, self-centred, melodramatic, etc.
Since she has met Willoughby, we've seen additional examples of bad behaviour:
-- In Ch. 10, we hear them criticizing Colonel Brandon in an unkind way:
"Brandon is just the kind of man," said Willoughby one day, when they were talking of him together, "whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to."
"That is exactly what I think of him," cried Marianne.
Prior to this she had been merely indifferent to Colonel Brandon, and Brandon does not seem to have overtly done anything to alter her opinion, yet conversation goes on with Elinor trying to defend the colonel and Marianne speaking of him 'contemptuously' and declaring that "he has neither genius, taste, nor spirit. That his understanding has no brilliancy, his feelings no ardour, and his voice no expression." Willoughby encourages Marianne and adds to what she says.
--Then, in Ch. 12 "As Elinor and Marianne were walking together the next morning the latter communicated a piece of news to her sister, which, in spite of all that she knew before of Marianne's imprudence and want of thought, surprised her by its extravagant testimony of both. Marianne told her, with the greatest delight, that Willoughby had given her a horse."
Marianne strongly objects to Elinor's caution as to the impropriety of accepting such a gift from a man she just met and only relents at the thought of the inconvenience and expense for their mother.
In the next chapter, when Colonel Brandon is called unexpectedly away, Elinor overhears Willoughby and Marianne exchanging these uncharitable remarks about him:
"There are some people who cannot bear a party of pleasure. Brandon is one of them. He was afraid of catching cold, I dare say, and invented this trick for getting out of it. I would lay fifty guineas the letter was of his own writing."
"I have no doubt of it," replied Marianne.
Later the very same day is Willoughby and Marianne's ill-advised and unchaperoned excursion to Allenham: "they had gone to Allenham, and spent a considerable time there in walking about the garden and going all over the house.
Elinor could hardly believe this to be true, as it seemed very unlikely that Willoughby should propose, or Marianne consent, to enter the house while Mrs. Smith was in it, with whom Marianne had not the smallest acquaintance."
Marianne's defense on the subject is that she enjoyed herself, so therefore there cannot have been anything wrong with what she did. "If there had been any real impropriety in what I did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure."
It seems that despite Marianne's conviction that she has found the man of goodness and virtue that she sought, Willoughby brings out the worst in her, and is making her even more unlikable than before? Do you agree?
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