The saddest thing about Willoughby...
Posted by Barbara on April 22, 1998 at 09:58:11:
In response to Agreed, in part . . ., written by Mary Anne on April 22, 1998 at 08:34:34
[As Lewis noted--hope I have the quotation right: "You don't make demons out of fallen amoebas, or fallen chimpanzees, or even fallen men: you make them out of fallen angels." In short, Willoughby's actions always make me think: What a terrible *waste* . . .
I love the quote, Mary Anne, and how appropriate!
To me, the saddest thing about all of this is that Willoughby went wrong before the action of the story even started. As Elinor tells Marianne:
"One observation may, I think, be drawn from the whole of the story--that all Willloughby's difficulties have arisen from the first offence against virtue, in his behaviour to Eliza Williams. That crime has been the origin of every lesser one, and of all his present discontents."
In a sense, Willoughby and Marianne's love was "doomed" (now there's a romantic notion for her!) from the start. Because the crime had already been committed, there was no way for these two lovers to come to a happy resolution. At some point, Brandon would have certainly found out about Eliza. If Willoughby had agreed to marry her( Eliza), he would be miserable. If he had married Marianne, there is no guarantee that they would have been happy. If they remained poor, he would have grown to resent her, and, as Marianne herself says, she could never be happy with him as she lost, or would have lost, all respect for him when she learned of Eliza. And, of course we know that Willoughby is not happy (even if he is not always miserable!) being married to Sophia, and will always regret Mrs. Brandon.
In a way, Marianne had the doomed, Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed love affair of her dreams.
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