Willoughby insists on being heard
Posted by Barbara on August 01, 1998 at 14:07:36:
In response to Drabble on Willoughby and Brandon, written by Linda K. on August 01, 1998 at 10:23:53
] ] About Willoughby:
] ] "One would have expected the author to have dismissed Willoughby as decisively as she dismisses her other philanderers, the mercenary Wickham and the wealthy Henry Crawford...But Willoughby refuses to be distanced by Elinor's sense and Austen's morality and irony. He insists on being heard. His reappearance, on a cold and stormy night, as Marianne lies, as he thinks, desparately ill, is as melodramatic as his original introduction, but far more seriously intended, and his long attempt at self-exoneration is oddly moving, and quite beyond Austen's usual emotional range...The irredeemable and "diabolical" villain has become, through the urgency of his emotion and the power of his presence, almost acceptable as a brother-in-law."
] I do agree very much with the statements about Willoughby and how he cannot be dismissed, (and in my opinion compared), with JA's other philanderers. I have always felt this way. Willoughby insists on being heard because he does have genuine feelings for Marianne. We cannot say the same for Henry Crawford or Wickham. Willoughby is "odly moving" as stated above (and not in a deceptive way IMO), and thus I cannot condemn him to the same fiery hell that I have reserved for Henry and Wickham.
I have been reading another interesting book (which I can't give a lot of info. on for a few days, as I am away from home) called The Jane Austen Companion which makes several interesting observations about Willoughby's confession, wherein he insists on being heard. The author concedes that Elinor is indeed moved by what he has to say, but she also points out that perhaps Elinor is also trying to be agreeable to him--to pacify him perhaps--let him speak his piece and get him out of there because she is very, very worried about the imminent arrival of Col. Brandon!!!
When Willoughby arrives and Elinor hears that someone is there, she thinks it must be Brandon with her mother, so she certainly is expecting them at any moment. She is one of the only people who knows that they have met in a duel, and the two men haven't seen each other since then. In the interim, Willoughby has married. One can imagine the reaction of Col. Brandon (who, to add fuel to the fire and unbeknownst to Elinor at this point) has just confessed his love for Marianne to her mother, to find Willoughby of all people at her deathbed. But Elinor does know that they last saw each other in very tense, emotional circumstances, and Brandon would react none too kindly to seeing a married man who has already ruined another young girl still in pursuit of this girl, even though he has nearly driven her to her death. In the book I read, the author asks, "What if Brandon were to arrive, find Willoughby there, and reissue his challenge (duel)?" --they have already caused the Palmers enough problems without such another scene at Cleveland.
Elinor could not really be blamed for doing whatever she could to get rid of Willoughby, even if that meant listening to him so he would leave, and maybe leave them alone.
Another interesting point in this book is that Elinor has to listen to not one, but TWO confessions, as she has also heard Brandon's. And JA never again wrote a scene where a confession or declaration like this was made face to face--it was done through letters or third parties in later books.
- More Will and Drabble Cassandra 15:38:47 8/01/98 (14)
- Willoughby & Alec D'Urberville Linda K. 22:27:37 8/05/98 (9)
- Will, Alec and Damon? Cassandra 14:01:36 8/08/98 (8)
- I have not read..... Linda K. 10:16:48 8/09/98 (7)
- ROTN Cassandra 08:49:18 8/12/98 (0)
- ROTN Barbara 17:38:58 8/09/98 (5)
- Maddening enigma Arnessa 18:58:47 8/02/98 (3)
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