Is the character Willoughby portrayed as likeable in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen?
Willoughby is presented in such a way that the reader likes him but is suspicious of him, and then has those suspicions confirmed (mostly).
Although Willoughby almost always appears to be a caricature, he sometimes develops depth. He seems like a gentleman, then a playboy; he’s perfect, and then cruel; he’s harsh, and then apologetic. Every time we think we have him figured out, he changes on us.
When Willoughby first appears, he makes a grand entrance and Elinor and her mother are smitten.
[The] eyes of both were fixed on him with an evident wonder and a secret admiration which equally sprung from his appearance, he apologized for his intrusion by relating its cause, in a manner so frank and so graceful that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression. (ch 9)
Sir John seems to have a good opinion of Willoughby, because when the women ask about him he says he is going to ride over and see him. He gives quite a character reference for him, calling him "As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you” and “he is very well worth catching” because he is about to inherit property.
Willoughby “was exactly formed to engage Marianne's heart” (ch 10). He was handsome, witty, kind, and romantic. The way they met was even appropriate, since he saved her like a damsel in distress. Of course, no man is perfect. Yet Willoughby turns into a villain, leading Marianne on and then dumping her in a letter.
Yet is Willoughby really a cad? Did he have them entirely fooled? Was he making a fool of Marianne, or did he genuinely have feelings for her? Though we feel for Marianne after the way he...
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