Marianne's happiness (Sorry about length!)
Posted by Mary Anne on April 15, 1998 at 08:06:05:
In response to Marrying Beth, written by Barbara on April 15, 1998 at 02:26:51
] Oh, I think Brandon wanted Willoughby to marry her or at least do something for her! Why else would he have challenged Willoughby to a duel?
] But if Brandon did NOT want Willoughby to marry young Eliza, I see it as one main reason: By the time he knew of the girl's distress and condition, Brandon already believed that Willoughby was on the point of asking Marianne to marry him, and did not want to destroy Marianne's happiness..
Right. What a dreadful dilemma, though, for Brandon. Note his extreme reluctance to speak of what he knows about Willoughby (another account that, it must be admitted, is charged with personal feeling and not to be considered completely objective). That story he tells, *after* things are at an end between Willoughby and Marianne, that he hopes will lessen her regrets . . . brrrr.
Whatever we may think about young Eliza, Willoughby strikes me as a young man who is used to getting what he wants. Not ruthless enough for villainy, but he has been favoured by charm, good looks, and at least the *prospect* of wealth. People like that sometimes feel that there is nothing they can't have: simply wanting it is enough. When Willoughby loses Marianne, I am convinced he *does* feel the loss, but as Elinor points out (in the novel), suppose he had gained Marianne and lost his wealth? He would have felt the loss of that, too.
Willoughy is complicated. More overindulged, I think, than downright villainous--but I can't put a "victim" tag on him. He can't put off his faults on young Eliza, *whatever* she may have been like. I note that in both the novel and the film, Brandon makes some comment about having been an overindulgent guardian ("God forgive me, I indulged her too much, I gave her too much freedom") so the angle of being willing to take responsibility for one's actions is woven through the story and not to be overlooked. See also, for this, Marianne's analysis of her own conduct: "I compare it with what it ought to have been. I compare it with yours."
Okay, I'll hush now and give someone else a turn. 8-) MA
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