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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Character Connection: "Villains" of Jane Austen


[For Character Connections during Jane in June, I have decided to pick through all of Jane's work and group my favorite characters according to 4 categories (1 for each week): Heroines, Heroes, "Villains" and Side Characters.
This week is Villains.]

Love 'em or love to hate 'em, you've got to admit Jane Austen gave us some great bad boys and girls.  Instead of listing my top picks and discussing each individually, I am going to give you the extensive lists of villains, and a general overview of the litany of crimes that make them so deliciously bad...

So ladies first: 
The Bad Girls
Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, Lucy Steele, Mary Crawford, Mrs Elton, Mrs Norris, Isabella Thorpe, Lydia Wickham, Maria Bertram
Guilty of: 
~ Running off with Bad Boys, underaged
~ Running off with Bad Boys, married
~ Encouraging lewd and lascivious behavior
~ Mercenariness
~ Know-it-all tendencies and extreme condescension
~ Uppity and catty behavior
~ Inappropriate playacting
~ Soul-crushing as a pasttime
~ Flightiness
~ Vanity
~ Coquetry
~ Redcoat chasing

The Bad Boys
Mr Wickham, Mr Willoughby, Mr Elliot, Henry Crawford, John Thorpe, Robert Ferrars, Mr Elton

Guilty of:

~ Running off with Bad Girls who are underaged
Running off with Bad Girls who are married
~ Gambling
~ Fathering illegitimate children
~ Leading women on for vanity's sake
~ Leading women on for entertainment's sake
~ Leading women on for subterfuge
~ Giving good men bad names
~ Reckless driving
~ Cursing in the presence of a lady

 I have a soft spot for some of these "villains," I must say.  You may be seeing "defense of" posts in future Jane in Junes...

So who's your favorite bad boy or girl?  And what's your favorite crime... 


  1. I must say Willoughby and Fanny Dashwood..Ha ha.

  2. I must say that I think you paid Robert Ferrars and immense compliment by including him amongst your bad boys - I think of him more as comical idiot, not villain. Henry Crawford is my favorite bad boy and Lady Catherine, by leaps and bounds, my favorite bad woman (I cannot call her a "girl").

    If Robert deserves a place in these ranks, surely so does his sweet sister Fanny Dashwood. She might be the woman I most loath in all of Austen.

  3. What fun. I enjoyed picking out the ones I know :)

  4. I have to say I enjoy the "bad" characters almost as much as the "good" ones. In fact, I truly believe without these devilish delights most of our heroes/heroins would have never reached their full potential.

    Fav Bad Girl: Lady Catherine (though bad-maybe not-snobbish, arrogant, entitled YEP)

    Fav Bad Boy: Mr. Willoughby (though again maybe not bad but selfish, cowardly, and pathetic)

  5. Mary Crawford and Lady Catherine
    Mr. Elton and Mr. Willoughby (who I analyzed in my post: http://bit.ly/9dxYt5)

  6. I love Lady Catherine and Mrs. Elton. The former for her unforgettable tirades and the latter for her upstartishness :)
    Mr. Willoughby wins for me because he really does love Marianne, albeit not enough to marry her, and John Thorpe is just a wonderful portrayal of a vulgar man.

  7. Mary Crawford is my favorite bad girl. I would've chosen her over boring Fanny any day.

    I don't think I have a favorite bad boy. The ones that I remember, I don't like at all, and some I just don't remember. I really need to re-read S&S.


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