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Character Role Analysis

John Willoughby

Willoughby plays the stereotypical romantic hero to Marianne's stereotypical romantic heroine. However, it soon becomes apparent that these roles don't function correctly within this novel. Rather than the lovers being wronged by someone else and torn apart, their relationship is thwarted by Willoughby himself. It turns out that being a charming, handsome, passionate young man isn't all it's cracked up to be – while it's all well and good in romance novels, it's tough going in the "real" world of Austen's book. One runs up debts, gets into unfortunate romantic situations, and in general, gets other people in terrible trouble, like Colonel Brandon's ward. All in all, Willoughby shows us that the "Romantic Interest" of a novel isn't always realistic – we shouldn't judge a book by its very handsome, heart-throbby cover, in other words.