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|What I mean by 'the whole novel is written around adultry'
Written by Margaret C
(6/26/2013 8:34 a.m.)
(Following on from a thread on the L&T board)
But semantics aside, it is the attraction between Crawford and Maria that throws Edmund together with Mary, that takes the Crawfords to Southerton. The theatre is a device that enables Crawford and Maria to get physical (hence Crawford's proposing the idea, supporting it when Tom was most likely to give it up, and choosing the play performed, and the performers of each role, though it would not do to seem so). Maria's apparent indifference to being dumped by Crawford motivates Crawford to transfer his charms to the nearest of her female relations at hand (Maria taking Julia to Brighton ensures that this is Fanny, and Mary's pursuit of for Edmund ensures that Fanny is at hand).
Crawford's advances on Fanny bring about the Ball, and Fanny's visit to Portsmouth, and his desire to provoke a reaction in Maria (possibly augmented by a desire to 'avenge' her neglect of Fanny) has him meeting her, then pursuing her to Twickenham, after which Maria's pursuit of him is discovered by Mrs Rushworth's maid. The public exposure of the affair frees Fanny from the burden of Crawford, and reveals Mary's true colours to Edmund, thus freeing him, and if it doesn't get the whole family to think that a marriage between Edmund and Fanny was a good thing, it at least gets rid of those members of the family that have any idea of objecting to it.
So it is this relationship that drives the plot, and if it was not at its heart an inconstant relationship (both of them aware from the start that they should have been courting another, as ostensibly they were), if it were not a sly and intriguing affair, it would not have the power to drive the plot.
Hence I would say the entire novel is written around adultery, although the hero, heroine, and even (arguably)the main villain are not directly a part of this critical relationship, and even though the novel has larger and more complex themes than this.
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