Willoughby Character Rivalry

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As the name might suggest, members of the third and last category, namely the category of rivals, entail the greatest potential danger to the heroines’ happy endings since they compete with them for their mutual love interest. Revisiting the example from the introduction, Miss Grey from Sense and Sensibility obviously belongs into this category due to the fact that she and Marianne compete for Willoughby. It is nonetheless an extraordinary example since she acts covertly the entire time and attains her goal with her schemes. Despite Miss Grey’s victory, it ultimately turns out that Marianne’s happy ending includes someone else. Another exemplary rival from Jane Austen’s novels is Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice who constantly flirts…show more content…
In addition to that, Louisa is depicted as having a “rather pretty [face]” (ibid.) and possessing high spirits and good manners (cf. ibid.). Yet it is not until Wentworth comes to know her better that the reader learns more about her as well and realises that she is Anne’s foil: when strolling around with him Louisa claims proudly that she is a decisive person and hardly if at all persuadable (cf. ibid. 81), thus the exact opposite of Anne. While Wentworth admiringly refers to the latter trait as “firmness” (ibid.), it borders upon obstinacy as one can see for instance during their walk in Lyme when Louisa refuses to listen to Wentworth’s dissuasion not to jump down the…show more content…
ibid. 157), and eventually got engaged (cf. ibid. 155, 157). Whereas before she was known for her high spirits and happy nature (cf. Persuasion 69f.), her brother Charles observes that this particularity has diminished during her recovery: “There is no running or jumping about, no laughing or dancing; it is quite different. If one happens only to shut the door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young dab chick in the water” (ibid. 205). One possibility of interpreting Louisa’s change is to view it as a mental and emotional maturing process triggered by the realisation that it was her exuberance that put her own life at risk. Grundy provides another possible interpretation, namely by pointing out that Louisa’s post-illness change “looks nevertheless like satire on the way girls were expected smoothly to adapt themselves to the eventually chosen husband’s requirements”

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