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Written by Robbin
(2/22/2013 3:03 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Duel, penned by Kristina F
I do not know what JA’s Brandon considered to be appropriate punishment for Willoughby but after reading these posts I am more interested in the answer than ever before. However I will confine my response to your assertions about the adaptations. If I understand your comparison correctly the duel scene in S&S3 clearly indicates Brandon always intended to let Willoughby live and from the S&S2 screenplay you gather ET’s Brandon always intended to blast him from the face of the Earth. As such S&S3 Brandon is far less aggressive than S&S2 Brandon. He is also far less aggressive than a generally bristling angry man. If each Brandon, the novel and adaptations, is exactly as you describe then you are perfectly right.
What in the S&S3 duel or other reference clearly indicates Brandon began only intending to humiliate Willoughby with a minor wound? If so why does he put sword to Willoughby’s throat after giving him a minor wound? I do not recall anything in the interview with Andrew Davies (DVD) on this subject. In the duel I see two men full-on fighting; Willoughby is quickly outclassed; knocked to the ground; Brandon disarms maybe disables by slashing his sword arm; he places his sword at Willoughby’s throat and then he appears to struggle; he finally whips his sword away leaving Willoughby looking incredibly relieved. My interpretation is each man wanted to kill the other and Brandon’s decision to spare Willoughby death was made after drawing first blood. Otherwise what was the struggle about?
Where in the S&S Screenplay & Diaries does ET give her views on novel Brandon’s intent going into the duel or that her Brandon would feel absolutely the same? On page 155 Brandon says ‘We met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct’ and ‘We returned unwounded, so the meeting never got abroad.’ On page 209 ET writes ‘how many people know there is a duel in Sense and Sensibility?’ and on page 272, she says a duel scene was not included in the screenplay because it ‘only seemed to subtract from the mystery.’ All I know for sure is ET’s Brandon has punished Willoughby by appointment but neither were injured. Have I missed some other reference? Unfortunately there is no duel in S&S2 to scrutinize for Brandon’s intent as we can with S&S3.
I cannot say S&S3 Brandon is far less aggressive than S&S2 Brandon. I think S&S3 Brandon is trying to kill Willoughby till he decides differently. I do not think there is enough information to know ET’s views of the duel in the novel or what the screenplay’s Brandon would have intended. As I do not wish to assume the intent of Brandon in the screenplay on available information there is nothing to compare. As for retooled S&S3 Brandon, I do not understand how his intent in a duel, whether to kill or wound Willoughby, can make him appear less of a generally (not always, I admit) bristling and angry man. Is not just the act of challenging Willoughby to a duel, an inherently violent and aggressive endeavor, the result of feelings far more violent and aggressive than bristling and angry? I think so. (:D)
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