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Discuss Austen(TM)s use of Mr Elliot in Persuasion.

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Introduction

Essay Question - Discuss Austen's use of Mr Elliot in Persuasion. Austen uses Mr Elliot in various ways in Persuasion, this ranges from gaining an insight into other people's characters to contributing to the romance genre. Austen mainly uses Mr Elliot as a plot device in Book Two of the novel after Anne's arrival in Bath. The use of Mr Elliot's character can be tied into most of the major themes of the novel. The first mention of Mr Elliot in Persuasion is in the fist chapter of Book One. We find out that he is the heir presumptive to the Baronetcy, through Sir Walter who is reading the Baronetage. We can see that this is important to Sir Walter as he has added, "Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq." to the pages in the book referring to the Elliot's. This shows how class conscious Sir Walter is, it is blatantly obvious that Austen is ridiculing Sir Walter for being too class conscious. ...read more.

Middle

When the 'mystery gentleman' is identified as Mr Elliot by the party in Lyme, we see that Austen highlights Mary's class snobbery. We next see Mr Elliot in Chapter Three of Book Two, however the reaction to him is much more positive than it was in the first book. We see that despite his previous grievances against them Elizabeth and Sir Walter readily forgive Mr Elliot and are even happy to renew their acquaintance. In this chapter we see that the relationship between Mr Elliot and Anne improves and we see that he is clearly attracted to her. This is where the possibility of Mr Elliot standing as a rival against Wentworth for Anne's affections becomes a reality. In the next chapter Austen uses Mr Elliot to show how fickle Lady Russell is. We see here that she feels that he could not be "a more agreeable or estimable man" and that "Everything united in him; good understanding, correct opinions, knowledge of the world, and a warm heart". ...read more.

Conclusion

Another example where the two can be compared is when Wentworth helps Mrs Smith when Mr Elliot deserted her in her time of need after the death of her husband. Here Austen clearly wants to show the differences between the two characters, and it highlights how Wentworth is from a lower class and has made his own fortune through hard work and how Mr Elliot stands to inherit his fortune whilst not even being half the man Wentworth is. In conclusion it could be said that Mr Elliot is of vital significance to the novel and that Austen uses him to further the plot, especially between Anne and Wentworth. He is used to show the characters and the readers that even though he is from the upper classes it does not mean that he is better than any one else. This brings up the theme of the changing ideal of the gentlemen in Persuasion. Austen also uses him throughout the novel in relation to the major themes, for example family as well as love. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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