Character Analysis Of Lady Russell In 'Persuasion'

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The third and last character to be sorted into the category of old schemers is Lady Russell from Persuasion. As a female antagonist she is strikingly different from her already examined predecessors since she is not only on friendly terms with the protagonist Anne Elliot but also plays the role of her only confidante in the novel. Anne’s mother died when she was still a child (cf. Persuasion 5f.) and, as time went on, she did not only become Lady Russell’s “most dear and highly valued god-daughter, favourite and friend” but also “it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again” (Persuasion 7), meaning she sees herself as a substitute mother. From this it follows that Lady Russell is very protective of Anne and naturally only wants what is best for her in order to ensure that she has a good future. However, Lady Russell’s goodwill/favour becomes a danger to Anne’s happy ending since the best for Anne is actually what Lady Russell personally considers to be best and this view is not necessarily in accord with what would make Anne happy as the two women do not share the same basic set of beliefs: Lady Russell is presented as a wealthy (cf. Persuasion 7), “benevolent” (Persuasion 12), “charitable” (ibid.) widow (cf. Persuasion 7) who is, however, flawed in so far as she “had prejudices on the side of ancestry; she had a value for rank and consequence” (Persuasion 13). To illustrate the issue being presented, one could, for instance, consider the Elliot
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