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|GR: More on Willoughby
Written by Line
(9/14/2003 12:48 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Willoughby's "Confession" Scene (Obscenely Long), penned by Monica C.
] 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.
However, Willoughby says himself that when he first started trying to attract Marianne, he didn't know what love was. Falling truly in love (at least as much as he was capable of) took him by surprise, and deepened his understanding of what it was like to suffer for love (though obviously, not as much as it should have!).
] And I have to say I could barely stomach the way he talked about Eliza Williams!...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.
Though I agree with you about a woman's reputation being so terribly important back then, Willoughby is not just trashing her to a passing acquaintance, but to somebody who has a right to know the facts, and who will certainly not repeat them to anybody else! I can accept the fact that he may be telling the truth about Eliza without excusing his behaviour in any way. I think of Eliza as being very much like Lydia Bennet, except that things turned out "well" for Lydia, while they turned out as badly as possible for Eliza. (In fact, I think I'll take this to Austenuations!)
] "...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?"
I thought he meant that they probably had mutual acquaintances from whom she could have found out his address (without having to go into the real reason for why she wanted it), and that this showed that Eliza did not have a strong practical streak. However, you are quite right that this is an amazingly weak excuse compared to the fact that he took off without even leaving her a forwarding address!
] 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!
Just to be accurate, I think he had already finished with Eliza (in his own mind anyway!) by the time he met Marianne, so he was only *two*-timing rather than *three*-timing her! ;-)
] Willougby shows how little he truly thinks of his wife, on reading the last letter from Marianne Sophia is 'wretched' (her own fault of course) and he says "Her wretchness I could have borne (of course it didn't hurt HIM did it?) -but her passion her malice..." He makes fun of her "And in short what do you think of my wife's style of letter-writing?-delicate, tender, truly femine?-was it not?"
Again, I can believe that Willoughby may be accurate about this part of his wife's character without excusing *him* at all. Though I agree that Sophia got much the worst of their bargain, I have to wonder how much she truly loved Willoughby, and how much was just possessiveness.
] Did he really come all that way simply to farewell Marianne, or did she just "happen" to be on his way?
Actually, I do believe that he came specifically to see Marianne, and that it was the business at Combe Magna that was the excuse.
] But of course Willoughby cannot be happy, not with that horrible wife of his, he merely lives in hope that the Dashwoods will think of him and be sad and that if "...by any blessed chanced (be) at liberty again..."
Yes, if I were Sophia, I'd seriously consider hiring a food-taster among my servants! ;-)
] So Marianne's supposed to stay a spinster forever merely to stop Willoughby from suffering! The selfishness!
Yes, isn't it? And while I believe that Willoughby is sincerely shaken about the possibility that Marianne may be dying, I suspect that some small part of him is secretly flattered that a woman might die for love of *him*!
P.S. to Delories: While Elinor at first suspects from his strange behaviour that Willoughby has had too much to drink, I believe him when he says that all he had was "a pint of porter" with lunch - definitely not enough to make him drunk.
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