Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by Delories
(9/16/2003 5:08 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Slamming a convention, penned by Jenny Allan
] I think the scene is meant to be a parody of a the death bed confession of love that is scene in a number of gothic and romantic novels. But Willoughby never makes it into the sick room and then Marianne has the gall to not actually die. [snip]He fancied himself as inspiring Marianne to die for love. He was a little abashed when it didn't work out that way and then set about to whining.
Good point, Jenny A.! Indeed, the text strongly implies this, when Willoughby tells Elinor that "Marianne's sweet face as white as death" [the last time they saw each other in town] "when I thought of her today as really dying, it was a kind of comfort to me to imagine that I knew exactly how she would appear to those who saw her last in this world."
There's a bit of the Valmont, here, n'est-ce pas? I mean, almost a sort of pride in inspiring a woman to suffer, nay, die, for (mostly) unreturned love. Willoughby is a man for whom eliciting strong emotions is like a drug; having abandoned a pregnant woman and winding up in a duel, he now wants to kick the dose up another notch by watching his "beloved" Marianne die!
How wonderfully JA sends up gothic/romance conventions here! I think of her as Shakespeare's Rosalind, saying that people have "died from time to time... but not for love."
Sense & Sensibility is maintained by Barbara with WebBBS 3.21.