Rakes and flirts
Posted by Linden on May 10, 1998 at 00:36:48:
In response to Rakes, written by Linden on May 07, 1998 at 18:21:49
] Does anybody have a soft spot for a rake? The cads and seducers that provide much of the plot in so many novels (including JA's)?...
] My thoughts are that JA does not really handle them well: she doesn't make them charming enough: and presumably they must be charming, or they couldn't be very successful rakes.
Just had another thought: JA might not like rakes, but she'll allow flirts.
The difference: a rake is a man who sexually seduces a woman whom he has no intention of marrying: Willoughby, Wickham, Crawford, and possibly Mr Eliot: (is he really rakish in going off with Mrs Clay at the end?)
A flirt is someone who makes himself attractive to a woman whom he has no intention of marrying - and JA allows many of these to get the girl in the end. Some examples.
Captain Wentworth flirts with Louisa and Henrietta simultaneously.
Mr Darcy (at first) has no intention of marrying Lizzy, yet he still pays her compliments, engages in verbal sparring, etc: it's not his fault that she can't stand him.
Henry Tilney knows that Catherine loves him, but he neither puts her off, nor gets round to proposing to her until she's thrown out of the house.
Frank Churchill flirts with Emma as a blind for his engagement to Jane Fairfax: he says he believes that Emma isn't the sort to fall for him, and fortunately he's right - but he might not have been.
Even that most unfirtatious hero Edward Dashwood allows Elinor to fall in love with him when he's engaged to Lucy.
So while none of the flirts show signs of seducing anyone, they could still have done serious harm. After all, it's not Willoughby's rakishness that nearly kills Marianne: it's the fact that he made her fall in love with him and then deserted her.
- In Mr. Willoughby's defense.. MaureenJ 23:49:48 5/11/98 (0)
- about that rake... P. Bingham 00:53:37 5/10/98 (4)
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