Compare and contrast the themes of love Persuasion

Compare and contrast the themes of love and duty in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion."

In Jane Austen's novels "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion," the themes of love and duty are central to the development of the plot and the portrayal of characters. While both novels explore the complexities of human relationships and the challenges of societal expectations, they approach the themes of love and duty in distinct ways. In this essay, we will compare and contrast the treatment of love and duty in "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion" through their characters, plot developments, and social contexts.

Compare and contrast the themes of love Persuasion

One of the key similarities between "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion" is that both novels depict the societal expectations and constraints of their time, particularly in relation to love and marriage. In "Sense and Sensibility," the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are faced with the challenge of finding suitable husbands in order to secure their social and financial status. Marianne's passionate nature and Elinor's more reserved demeanor represent the titular "sense" and "sensibility" in the novel, respectively. Marianne falls head over heels for the dashing but unreliable Willoughby, while Elinor struggles to conceal her own feelings for Edward Ferrars due to their difference in social status and his engagement to another woman.

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Compare and contrast the themes of love Persuasion:-Similarly, in "Persuasion," the protagonist Anne Elliot is pressured by her family to reject her true love, Captain Wentworth, due to his lack of fortune and social status. Instead, she is persuaded by her family's sense of duty to marry the wealthy but arrogant Mr. Elliot. Both novels highlight the challenges faced by women in Austen's time, where their choices in love and marriage were often limited by social expectations and economic considerations. Love and duty are depicted as conflicting forces, as characters grapple with their desires and obligations to themselves and society.

However, while both novels share similar themes of societal expectations and constraints, they approach the theme of love differently. In "Sense and Sensibility," love is portrayed as passionate, impulsive, and sometimes reckless. Marianne's infatuation with Willoughby is depicted as an overwhelming force that leads her to disregard societal norms and propriety. Her pursuit of romantic ideals and disregard for social conventions ultimately results in heartbreak and disappointment. On the other hand, Elinor's love for Edward is portrayed as more reserved, practical, and based on mutual respect and understanding. Elinor embodies the sense of duty, as she restrains her emotions and conforms to societal expectations despite her inner turmoil.

Compare and contrast the themes of love Persuasion:-In contrast, "Persuasion" portrays love as patient, enduring, and based on personal growth and self-awareness. Anne's love for Captain Wentworth is portrayed as steadfast and unwavering, despite the passage of time and external pressures. Wentworth's initial resentment towards Anne due to her family's influence is eventually resolved through self-reflection and forgiveness. The novel emphasizes the importance of maturity, self-reflection, and communication in relationships, and presents love as a force that can withstand the test of time and external pressures.

Another notable contrast between the two novels is the role of duty in relation to love. In "Sense and Sensibility," duty is often portrayed as a burden or constraint that prevents characters from pursuing their true desires. Elinor's sense of duty towards her family and her ability to conceal her emotions are depicted as sacrifices that she makes for the sake of others. Marianne's disregard for duty and social conventions results in her suffering and ultimately learning the importance of balancing passion with reason.

On the other hand, in "Persuasion," duty is portrayed as a moral obligation that characters must fulfill, but it is also presented as a virtue that can lead to personal growth and fulfillment

Sense and Sensibility “Themes”

"Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen explores several major themes, including:

  • Sense and sensibility: The novel contrasts the characteristics of "sense" and "sensibility" through the personalities and actions of the two main characters, Elinor and Marianne. Elinor represents sense with her rationality, practicality, and self-control, while Marianne embodies sensibility with her emotional intensity, impulsiveness, and romanticism. The novel explores the interplay between these two qualities and their consequences.
  • Social class and wealth: "Sense and Sensibility" depicts the societal norms and expectations of the English Regency era, particularly in relation to social class and wealth. It portrays the challenges faced by the Dashwood family, who experience a significant decrease in their social status and financial stability after the death of their father, and the limitations and opportunities that arise due to social class and wealth disparities.
  • Gender roles and expectations: The novel portrays the limitations and expectations placed on women in the early 19th century, including their roles as daughters, sisters, and wives. It explores the challenges faced by the Dashwood sisters as they navigate the social expectations, restrictions, and gender norms of their time, and the consequences of conforming or deviating from these expectations.
  • Family and sisterhood: "Sense and Sensibility" portrays the dynamics of family relationships, particularly the bond between sisters. It depicts the love, loyalty, and support between Elinor and Marianne, as well as their contrasting personalities and the challenges they face as siblings. The novel also explores the importance of family as a source of comfort, conflict, and moral guidance.
  • Moral and ethical values: The novel examines the moral and ethical values of the characters, including honesty, integrity, and selflessness. It portrays the consequences of characters' actions, both positive and negative, and the importance of moral choices and principles in shaping their lives.
  • Appearance versus reality: "Sense and Sensibility" explores the theme of appearance versus reality, highlighting the contrast between the outward appearances of characters and their true nature. It depicts the dangers of superficial judgment, deceit, and social pretense, as well as the consequences of misconstrued appearances.
  • Independence and autonomy: The novel portrays the struggles and aspirations of women to assert their independence and autonomy in a society that often limits their agency. It depicts the Dashwood sisters' journey towards self-reliance, self-determination, and finding their own voice in a patriarchal society.

Persuasion “Themes”

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen explores several major themes, including:

  • Second chances and regret: One of the central themes of "Persuasion" is the idea of second chances and the consequences of missed opportunities. The novel follows the story of Anne Elliot, who regrets her decision to reject a proposal of marriage from Captain Frederick Wentworth years ago due to the persuasion of her family. The novel explores how Anne grapples with her regrets and the possibility of a second chance at love and happiness.
  • Social class and status: "Persuasion" portrays the social hierarchies and class distinctions of the Regency era in England. It explores the challenges faced by characters from different social classes and their struggles with societal expectations, prejudices, and the influence of wealth and status on relationships and decision-making.
  • Family relationships: The novel delves into the dynamics of family relationships, including the relationships between parents and children, siblings, and extended family members. It explores the impact of family dynamics, such as favoritism, loyalty, and duty, on the lives and choices of the characters.
  • Persuasion and influence: The title of the novel itself, "Persuasion," suggests a central theme of the power of persuasion and influence in human interactions. The novel explores how characters try to persuade or influence others, whether through subtle manipulation, social pressure, or genuine persuasion, and the consequences of these efforts.
  • Self-awareness and personal growth: The novel portrays the journey of self-awareness and personal growth of the main character, Anne Elliot. It explores how she learns from her past mistakes, gains insight into her own feelings and desires, and becomes more assertive and independent in making choices for her own happiness.
  • Female agency and independence: "Persuasion" portrays the struggles of women in the Regency era to assert their agency and independence in a society that often limits their choices and opportunities. It depicts Anne's journey towards self-empowerment and making decisions based on her own desires and convictions, despite societal norms and expectations.


Q: Who is the author of "Sense and Sensibility"?

A: "Sense and Sensibility" was written by Jane Austen, an English novelist who lived from 1775 to 1817. It was published in 1811, and it was her first published novel.

Q: When was "Sense and Sensibility" published?

A: "Sense and Sensibility" was published in 1811 by Thomas Egerton in London. It was published anonymously, and the title page simply stated, "By a Lady."

Q: Who is the author of "Persuasion"?

A: "Persuasion" was written by Jane Austen, an English novelist who lived from 1775 to 1817. It was published posthumously in 1817, after her death.

Q: When was "Persuasion" published?

A: "Persuasion" was published in 1817, after Jane Austen's death. It was published along with another of her novels, "Northanger Abbey," as a two-volume set, with a preface written by Austen's brother, Henry Austen.



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