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|Willoughby's "Confession" Scene (Obscenely Long)
Written by Monica C.
(9/13/2003 10:15 p.m.)
I have to say that I can't believe that Elinor fell for it! Willougby's looks aside that "confession" is the single worst excuse for justification that I've ever read!
First of all there's poor Marianne, who he did everything in his power to make fall in love with him "I endeavoured by every means in my power,to make myself pleasing to her, without any design of returning her affection." simply for his own amusement! I don't think it really matter if he did "fall in love" with her later, anyone with that sort of an attitude towards love obviously doesn't know what it is.
Having imparted this which causes Elinor no end of pain, he insists that she hear the rest of the tale then goes on to give a "woe is me" tale about how, basically, if he'd only been born richer or Mrs. Smith died earlier he would have been fine! "...though the death of my old cousin Mrs. Smith was to set me free, yet that event being uncertain and possibly far distant..."
Then he continues about how he fell in love with Marianne and decided "What the heck, I'll marry her" probably he would have neglected to tell her his finicial situation! And at that point Mrs. Smith somehow or other been informed, I imagine by some distant relation, whose interest it was to deprive me of her favour (as if he deserved it!), of an affair- a connection..." there he has neatly made it sound as if he were the victim! Some nasty jealous relative of his has sullied his reputation with an unfortunate mistake of his.
And I have to say I could barely stomach the way he talked about Eliza Williams! And not least of all our own dear Colonel who Willoughby says "Remember, from whom you recieved the account. Could it be an impartial one?" thus indirectly suggesting the Colonel made the situation out far worse than it was merely to gain Marianne's favour. It also casts doubt on Eliza reputation and Willougby goes further to ruin it- "...because she was injured, she was irreproachable; and because I was librtine, SHE must be a saint..." Isn't that nice of him, to say such thing when a woman's reputation was everything, as if he hasn't ruined it enough all ready. The worst of it all is how he continues to say "I do not mean to defend myself" well that what the heck is he doing if not that?
To add insult to injury he implies that Eliza is an idiot "...her weakness of mind..." at the same time as acknowledging she deserved better treatment from in. But it's the same problem again, he KNEW what he should have done, but didn't do it! And he expects to be pitied for "realising" it. He tries to imply that he feels for what he has done, but he doesn't even acknowledge Eliza's pain properly saying "But I have injured more than herself; and I have injured one whose affection (may I say it?) was scareless less warm than hers, and whose mind-Oh! How infintitely more superior!" As if the dumber you are the less you feel!
Then there's his truly truly WEAK excuse for leaving Eliza in such a terrible situation. Apparently he just "forgot" to tell her where he was going and that he wasn't coming back, and he takes another pot shot at Eliza's intelligence "...commonsense might have told her how to find out." And how exactly WAS that Willoughby? Go up to an aquaintance of yours and ask "How can I find the father of my child concieved out of wedlock?" And Willougby has all ready implied he didn't want Eliza to "dirty" up his past so he didn't ever want her to find him!
So then of course he goes on to discredit the evil Mrs. Smith who unjustly deprives him of his inheritance unless he marries that stupid and presumely loose girl, Eliza. And he further states that been poor would be far worse to him than hurting and losing Marianne. Furthermore he says "I had reason to believe myself secure in my present wife, if I chose to address her..." which suggests that he was all ready pulling the moves onn Sophia while with Eliza and Marianne! Could it be any worse?!
Indeed it does, in answer to Elinor's question of why he couldnt' simply have written to Marianne regarding his leaving he says "It was necessary to my own pride..." he yet again places himself and his own feelings above those he professes to have for Marianne. What does that say of him? Did Colonel Brandon tell Marianne face to face what Willoughby had done? No, he spares her feelings and with regret tells Elinor so she can pass it to her sister and comfort her. No such gentlemanly behaviour from Willoughby, he cannot bare anyone thinking ill of HIM and suspecting HIM of doing wrong.
Notice also how Willougby lightly skips over whether he told Marianne he was to return soon "I do not know what I told her." Can we believe that? He has all but said he came to Barton Cottage on that day to ensure that he would leave them thinking he was just going off to London on an errand rather than the truth. Surely he thought hard about what he would say! And he neatly provokes Elinor's pity by bringing up HIS suffering as he left Devonshire, suffering he no doubt deserved.
Then Willoughby turns to his wife, the most evil character of all, who I cannot help but pity and wish that she had a life far better than what she got. Of course Willoughby has her as jealous, (the nerve of her, just because her fiance is wooing another woman!) and demands pity because he has this nasty wife, when he could have had "...affectionate, artless, confiding..." Marianne (who he willing gave up!). He waxes poetic about how Marianne's letters hit him like a "thunderbolt" yet he didn't rush to her side overcome by passion and love. Nope, he sneaks all around London making sure to avoid them, watching the house to make sure their gone before he leaves his card. Furthermore he has states that he is "comforted" (!) by the fact that now she could be dying he can imagine the exact expression on her face!"...sweet face as white as death..."
Of course notice how quickly Willougby tries to get out of there and the end of thagt statement. It's obvious that he doesn't want to talk about one PARTICULAR incident, but Elinor catches him out. "But the letter, Mr. Willougby, your own letter; have you anything to say about that?"
He further has the nerve to believe that that letter could not possibly have hurt Marianne because he was all ready ruined in her eyes. How can he believe that! He must be an idiot.And he blames his wife for been upset that he's hoarding relics of an old lover in his pocketbook, and carries them everywhere. He tells Elinor directly that Mrs. Willougby does not deserve her compassion "...She knew I had no regard for her when we married." The only thing I could think of at that point is how Mrs. Willoughby must be suffering, she's just made the biggest mistake of her life poor woman. I can't think of anything the Ellisons could have done that would have made her so desperate.
So anyway we get to the end of this self-pitying tirade (thank God!) with Willougby begging Elinor to pass on the story to Marianne as soon as she's recovered. In other words he wants to restore his reputation to her, make her suffer further in knowing she has lost a perfectly good man simply because she was poor!
Then Willougby finally makes ready to leave and imparts an interesting tidbit, turns out he has business at Combe Magna, leaving us to wonder what REALLY brought him there. Did he really come all that way simply to farewell Marianne, or did she just "happen" to be on his way?
Well, I hope you were all able to get through that, but I have to say I didn't feel ONE OUNCE of sympathy for Willougby, what I thought is a number of four letter words that can't be posted, and that he is truly the worst villan of the bunch! And I hope none of the Dashwoods ever spare him much of a thought again, particularly Marianne. And it certainly shows Elinor's good heart that she can pity him as she does!
P.S Of course as evidenced by the picture at the top it's obvious who I'm rooting for! ;O)
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