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Sunday, October 12

Jane Austen Character Throwdown

Lucy Steele's margin over Frank Churchill was impressive. Her 72% outstripped his paltry 28%, making her our first most conniving character. The next two candidates for this dubious distinction are not as well known, but equally repulsive in my estimation.
Most Conniving Character #2

Mr. John Thorpe, Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen's description of the disagreeable John Thorpe goes as follows: He was a stout young man of middling height, who, with a plain face and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he wore the dress of a groom, and too much like a gentleman unless he were easy where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might be allowed to be easy. A boastful fortune-hunter, given to talking in cant and lying carelessly to suit his needs, he angles after Catherine Morland's fortune, mistaking her to be the Allen's heiress. Catherine is repulsed by him, and at one Assembly Ball tries to hide from him behind her fan. Because of John's boasting (see image), General Tilney invites her to Northanger Abbey, where, as they say, the plot thickens.

Mr.William Elliot, Persuasion

On the surface, Mr. Elliot, heir to the Elliot fortune, is an amiable and good-looking man. Anne Elliot, though flattered by his attention, finds him almost too smooth and perfect. But, although Lady Russell approves of the match, Anne cannot bring herself to fully trust him. She demonstrates good instincts. When Mrs. Smith reveals Mr. Elliot's perfidy in his criminal mishandling of her meager fortune, Anne is not as shocked as she would have been had she fallen for the man. Mr. Elliot seeking to secure his inheritance, wishes to prevent at all cost the union between Sir Walter and Mrs. Clay. Jane left tantalizing clues in her last book, which she rushed to completion during her final illness: if Mr. Elliot is so dead set against Mrs. Clay, why is he seen talking to her?

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Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Most Conniving Character, #2
Mr. John Thorpe Mr. William Elliot

5 comments:

brenda said...

Ooooh, and Mr Elliot also told Mrs Clay that if Anne did accept him, he would set her up as his mistress!

Vic said...

Good point, Brenda. Thanks for cluing us in.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is a question of reading. That was only actually said in the latest adaptation, but not in the novel itself where she becomes his mistress no matter the results and the wondering question is that if she would become the wife of the future Sir William.

Cinthia

nigel said...

I think Mr Thorpe was more of a bully whereas Mr Elliot was a "sheep in wolves clothing."

Faith said...

I choose Mr. Elliot. He hid his scheming fairly well, and his deceit was long-lasting - from Mrs. Smith to the Elliots to Mrs. Clay. Regardless of Anne's rejecting him, he still came out "all right" in the end. He had schemes to cover his schemes.

Mr. Thorpe was a bully who did not hide anything he was doing, despite "excusing" his behavior. His scheme did not work out.