Wick, Will and Beth
Posted by Martine on February 17, 1998 at 11:17:57:
In response to Illegitimacy, written by Lynne on February 17, 1998 at 00:44:43
I'm afraid I cannot find any redeeming quality in Wickham. To me, he is a cold calculator who sees only his best interest, and moves on when the wind changes of direction. I would not be surprised in a sequel to P&P to hear that he had run away after a couple of years of marriage, only to reappear periodically and get money out Darcy's pocket under the promise of dissapearing for a few more years.
Willoughby, on the other hand, and even though he acted very foolishly and immaturely, DOES get a conscience at the end of the book through his confession to Elinor. What he will do with it afterwords, we don't know. Maybe nothing. Maybe he will become a better man than the reader could have imagined. It is up to him at that point to make this choice. What a pity JA didn't give us a clue as to his future...
As to the subject of why Will didn't marry Eliza, I think illegitimacy might be a big part of it, as you mention, but also the fact that he didn't love her and didn't respect her. In a way, he is being "honest:" he used Eliza as one would a courtesan. He took advantage of the one thing that she could give him, her body. From his perspective, that's probably it.
Remember that Eliza is probably not such a grand lady: she's been raised by farmers; Brandon tells us she is headstrong/capricious. We don't know exactly what kind of woman she is. Maybe she was very straight forward with Will and he mistook her for an easy woman. Since it is almost certain that he didn't know she was Brandon's ward in the beggining, he had no reason to have more consideration for her than he would have for any courtesan. None of that excuses his behavior, which was wrong and shameful. I'm trying to understand what would motivate such a man to act in this manner. One thing is certain: this kind of behavior was not uncommon amongst young men of "good" breeding, since it appears in JA's novels on a regular basis (Wickham, Harriet...) More suggestions?
Sorry for the longish post, but I don't have the opportunity to post very often these days, so I try to answer all questions at once! :0)
- Why didn't Willoughby marry her? Barbara 12:34:00 2/17/98 (0)
- Willoughby gets on with his life. Kathleen Ann 11:41:06 2/17/98 (1)
- Thanks! I had forgotten that snippet. :-) (nfm) Martine 13:44:22 2/17/98 (0)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.