Why didn't Willoughby marry her?
Posted by Barbara on February 17, 1998 at 12:34:00:
In response to Wick, Will and Beth, written by Martine on February 17, 1998 at 11:17:57
] 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.
I think that what Martine says is exactly the reason, and that Willoughby was a thoughtless young man, out for what he could get, who only lived to regret his actions later because they prevented him from having what he truly desired (Marianne)
Here is an exerpt from Willoughby's confession to Elinor which supports this:
(Elinor says) "I have heard it all. And how you will explain away any part of your guilt in that dreadful business, I confess is beyond my comprehension."
"Remember," cried Willoughby "from whom you received the account. Could it be an impartial one? I acknowledge that her situation and her character ought to have been respected by me. I do not mean to justify myself, but at the same time cannot leave you to suppose that I have nothing to urge, that because she was injured, she was irreproachable; and because I was a libertine, she must be a saint. If the violence of her passions, the weakness of her understanding--I do not mean, however, to defend myself. Her affection for me deserved better treatment, and I often,with great self- reproach, recall the tenderness which, for a very short time, had the power of creating any return. I wish--I heartily wish it had never been. But I have injured more than myself; and I have injured one whose affection for me (may I say it?) was scacely less warm than hers, and whose mind---Oh! how infinitely superior!"
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