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|GR: Rotten tomatoes for Willoughby!
Written by Mary Anne
(9/15/2003 9:21 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Tell us what you *really * think ;-), penned by Barbara
] It still amazes me, though, that this speech of Willoughby's has the power to soften peoples' opinion of him and make them pity him. I find him utterly despicable in this scene!
So do I, but I understand how the scene has that power and it's part of JA's genius. Willoughby is, I think, one of her most striking characters because anyone who's had the misfortune to know such an unprincipled charmer can feel that same effect. It was a stroke of brilliance to show how even Elinor felt that softening and had to call herself firmly back into line with reminders that Willoughby had behaved despicably.
] Yes, this really makes me see red (and not the fetching red of the colonel's jacket, either!)
Now Barbara, if you mention that you'll have us wanting pictures! You know that, don't you? ;-)
]Willoughby's meaning is clear--that Brandon would say anything to bring him down in their eyes. If he only knew how long the colonel waited before telling them and that he was even willing to keep silent on the topic forever if Willoughby HAD really married Marianne, just to give her a chance at happiness. Grrrr!!
Yes, I think that provokes my ire more than anything else as well, especially when I remember that Brandon, too, was willing to believe that Willoughby meant to propose to Marianne--he's willing to accept Elinor's belief that there is an engagement there. A harder-tempered man would have thought to himself, "Well, I know the rotter and no matter what these softhearted women think, I know better than to believe he'll do the honourable thing." But as you say, he held his peace until it simply wasn't possible any longer. This is a forbearing and generous man, indeed--which makes it all the more chilling to me that he had challenged Willoughby to that duel. Brandon, for me, is the personification of Dryden's "Beware the fury of a patient man." As I mentioned in another post, that's what gave the screaming habdabs the first time I ever read S&S--I was expecting Brandon to show up at Cleveland while Willoughby was still there. It would've been a trifle awkward, wouldn't it?
There is, as you say, plenty of ground for discussion in this scene. Looking forward to more thoughts from others.
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