Persuasion

The Role of Lady Russell in Persuasion College

Though very little is told in terms of her backstory, Lady Russell is nonetheless one of those characters that almost covertly dictate the course of the novel in a quite radical manner. More precisely, the widow exerts a very high degree of influence on many Kellynch matters, including the heroine’s (i.e. Anne’s) decisions regarding marriage and social connections, which are the central themes of the novel. A master in the art of speech, Lady Russell’s principal significance in the story is contained within the novel’s title. Given all of the above, my goal in this essay is to analyse the weight of Lady Russell’s character in Austen’s novel, identify and discuss all of the instances of Lady Russell’s influencing Anne and the story, and elaborate on the implications of Lady Russell’s actions on her relationship with Anne and the understanding of the novel as a whole.

To begin with, Lady Russell serves as a surrogate mother to Anne in many ways (she is her godmother), but also as a family advisor to the Elliot family. The narrator describes the widow as conservative in her conduct and quite aware of intricate upper class interactions of Austen’s England. In the beginning of the novel, Lady Russell and Mr. Shepherd are called upon...

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