Saturday, 7 May 2011

Which villains do you sympathise with?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about villains (most likely due to the fact that I have been discussing the villains of The Abduction Club over at my other blog) and I have realised that I don't dislike all villains actually I rather sympathise with a lot of them. With that said I thought it would be interesting to, over the next week, compile a list of villains or antagonists in period dramas/ classic novels with whom we sympathise with.

Here is my first suggestion:

Mr Willoughby:

John Willoughby is a character from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. He is one of those characters who is his own worst enemy and that is why I feel sorry for him. It is only himself that he can blame for the events that transpired throughout the novel and he knows this. I believe that despite his past actions, which of course I do not condone, he tried to change - because he truly loved Marianne Dashwood. He had every intention of marrying her but when  his past was exposed and his world came crashing down about him he could not cope with the possibility of poverty. It was this desire for wealth and status and his own vanity which were the driving motivation for his leaving Marianne. Also perhaps he believed that Marianne would not have forgiven him for what he had done in the past (just a thought). In order to prevent what he thought was his life falling apart before his eyes, John married the respectable Miss Grey- with fifty thousand pounds and this marriage was indeed his punishment,
 "If you can pity me, Miss Dashwood, pity my situation as it was then. With my head and heart full of your sister, I was forced to play the happy lover to another woman!"  (chapt.44)
Although John's obvious punishment is that of his marriage to Miss Grey, I think what is the worse punishment is the emotional one - the fact that he once had possession of love and lost it. He knew what it was like to be loved and to love and because of his own vanity lost it all, and knowing that never again would he possess all that was dear to him, or ever feel that feeling again. It's tragic and I believe what redeems him as a character is that he shows remorse and blames himself entirely for what he has done.

"But I have done it. To avoid a comparative poverty, which her affection and her society would have deprived of all its horrors, I have, by raising myself to affluence, lost everything that could make it a blessing."  (chapt. 44)

I will post more up for you to see during the week and once the list is big enough I will put it up into a poll and we can see who is generally acknowlegded as the villain/antagonist we sympathise with the most.

I would love to have your thoughts and suggestions on which villains/antagonists you sympathise with!


Miss Laurie said...

Willoughby is by far my favorite Jane Austen villain. I'm not sure I totally understand myself why I sympathize with him more than others. Perhaps it is because we can see a point in time where he made a wrong choice, where he tried to do the right thing and then where he regrets what he has done & the course his life it taking. That he does come back to Elinor & Marianne and "apologizes" is something other Austen villains don't do. There's a definite feeling that he might reform a bit and allow his wife to be his punishment. He was a good match for sweet Marianne, just not good or steady enough. Willoughby is definitely my favorite literary scoundrel! I also rather like his surname as a boys first name with nickname "Will". ;)

Tristans_Isolde said...

I must admit I love Willoughby, and even though I am probably offending a lot of people I loved him and Marianne more than Brandon and Marianne. I always wish Willoughby had been more of a man.
Willoughby as a first name is great! I've never thought of it before but know that you have said it I am definitely adding it to my (rather short) list of boys names :)

Michaela said...

WOW, someone else who actually understands Willoughby! ;) I always say he's my favorite Austin character. :P (j/k) But anyway - agree 100%! He's a guy that made a *horrible* mistake...but he really does feel sorry for his wrongs, and DID love Marianne. The scene at the end of the movie when he's watching her wedding just breaks my heart. :sniffle: hehe

Tristans_Isolde said...

Michaela, That scene breaks my heart too!