Posted by Bonny on June 26, 1998 at 09:11:24:
In response to Why do villains never inquire?, written by gkb on June 22, 1998 at 14:26:29
] The mythical drug Directra (which induced 72% of male subjects to ask for directions when they were lost) made me wonder why only JA's villains have this principled objection to inquiring. Mr. Eliott never inquires at public inns, and Henry Crawford never inquires, he tells the man mending the hedge that Thorton Lacey is there. Did JA disapprove of this trait? Does any instance of it appear in heroic or neutral characters? Is it a veddy upper class practice? Ideas and text-grindings welcomed!
I don't have an answer, unless it lies in a villain's sense of pride -with its various gradations, self-confidence, self- consequence, self-complacency, vanity.etc.(Though I'm told that hero's sometimes have this quality too.)It would be humbling, admitting a lack (of knowledge)to inquire in HC's case? Maybe not.
But I wanted to add that villains also have the trait of "restlessness" for want of a better word at this point in time. They often have an excess of energy which is not channelled or controlled in any constructive way. Henry Crawford must always be active, busy "Henry loves to be doing", but hte only time it is channeled into something useful is when he sees to his tenants at Everingham in order to impress Fanny. Wickham can't stick with a profession (or woman). Frank Churchill (sorry to class him as a villain, I guess he needs some qualification)is also restless - to the point that he gets sick of England & wants to go overseas. (I know that when he wants to go to Switzerland in terms of plot its cause he's fighting w/ Jane, but earlier on he says to Emma that he wanted to go overseas but it was one of only two unpersuadable points with his aunt.)
Diametrically opposed in character & values is Mr Knightley, he champions, in his understated way, values of "stability & continuity" (from Emma 3)working in a productive way with the land, & extending his benevolence to people, offering them consistent support... perhaps the perfect hero?
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