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Captain Frederick Wentworth is the male love interest in Persuasion. Captain Wentworth is the younger brother of Mr. Wentworth, the curate of Monkford. Both of his parents are dead[2]. He has one sister, Mrs. Croft, who is married to Admiral Croft[3]. Although he was originally not wealthy at all, he had made no less than £20,000 while abroad, making him a very desirable marriage prospect[4]. He marries Anne Elliot, the middle daughter of a baronet, in 1814[5].

BiographyEdit

Affection for AnneEdit

Captain Wentworth lived at Monkford estate in 1806, and harbored an affection for Anne Elliot, the middle daughter of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall. Saying that Sir Walter simply disapproved of the possible marriage between his daughter and Captain Wentworth would be a severe understatement; Sir Walter found it to be degrading in all aspects. He was astonished and immediately became cold towards his middle daughter. Lady Russell, who also did not approve, went about it in a much more genteel way than how Sir Walter acted[2]. Captain Wentworth had nearly nothing to his name at this point, and was not even a gentleman.

When Lady Russell and Sir Walter convinced Anne to break any engagements and promises she had with him, he was hurt and felt ill-used. He left Somersetshire. This did have a lasting negative effect on Anne, who lost most of her beauty due to heartbreak. She also never replaced him, although offers from eligible gentlemen were made to her over the years.

Years AbroadEdit

The first ship, a sloop, that he commanded was dubbed The Asp, and he was the last man who commanded her. She had hardly been fit for service when he had acquired her, but Admiral Croft commended her highly. He had captured several privateers and pirates while commanding her, and he claimed he never had a day of bad weather while sailing her[6].

He then acquired a French frigate, which ended the luck the Asp brought. He was hit by a storm that would've killed him if he had still been in the Asp, but he managed to survive[6], much to Anne's great relief. The ship was called "The Laconia". He took Richard Musgrove as one of his crew while captaining the Laconia. He did not like Dick Musgrove, but talked serenely and deeply about him with Mrs. Musgrove when the lady asked[6]. He made no less than £20,000 while abroad[4].

Return to EnglandEdit

Captain Wentworth was to return to England in order to see his sister and her husband as they were renting Kellynch Hall from Sir Walter. The captain had been the commander of a frigate. The news of his return shook Anne's nerves[7].

He stayed with his sister and brother-in-law at Kellynch, the very home of the man who had scorned his suit for his daughter. Upon seeing Anne again, it was awkward for both of them. He was a bit ungallant and told Henrietta Musgrove that Anne looked so different that he would not have known her. In his defense, he did not know that what he said would reach Anne, although he was still angry at her for how he thought she used him. He also wanted to marry, as he was rich and needed a wife[8].

His interactions with his former love Anne were very awkward. He was coldly civil to her, much to her dismay, as he was still reeling with hurt from the past. He spent a lot of time at Uppercross, where Anne was staying, since he had a bunch of admirers in Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove, as well as the Miss Hayters[4]. He told stories about his time abroad and the ships that he captained.

Pursuit of Louisa MusgroveEdit

He told his sister that he intended to find a wife and he began to pursue one of the Musgrove girls, although it was clear that he couldn't decide at first. He then set his eyes on Louisa, who told him some information about Anne's past that he did not know; that Charles Musgrove preferred Anne to Mary[9]. His sister, Sophia didn't actually approve of either Musgrove girl for her dear brother[9]. She never spoke of her disapproval, but it was clear to Anne.

Wentworth began to woo Louisa, as Henrietta had an understanding with her cousin, Charles Hayter, who had disliked Wentworth from their first meeting since he viewed him as a rival. When Wentworth heard that his old friend from the navy, Captain Harville, was staying in Lyme with his wife and another naval captain, Wentworth suggested that the Musgroves, including Anne, come with him to Lyme for a holiday. The idea was well met, and Anne agreed to the invitation as well[10]. While in Lyme, Louisa suffered a bad concussion when trying to jump down from a few steps. She was bedridden for quite a few days, and Wentworth was beside himself with horror—as he felt it was his fault that she was injured. They were all very relieved when a surgeon examined Louisa and proclaimed she would be fine as long as she rested[11].

While Anne was staying in Bath, Louisa turned her affections to James Benwick, another naval captain. Wentworth let her go, not one to make a fuss about such things[12].

Stay in BathEdit

After his courtship of Louisa was cut short, Wentworth went to stay with his sister and brother in law in Bath. He ran into Anne and escorted her home when there was no room in Lady Dalrymple's barouche. It was raining, so he offered the use of his umbrella[13].

Wentworth's affection for Anne was reborn. He attended a concert hosted by Lady Dalrymple because he knew Anne would be there. They were very aware of each other through the entire event. He unfortunately heard that Mr. Elliot planned to propose marriage to Anne, and he became so jealous and stricken that he had to leave the event early despite his love of music[14].

He was surprisingly admired by Sir Walter and Lady Dalrymple, the former who used to not think much of him[14].

Character traitsEdit

"Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too much spirit for that."
Admiral Croft describing his brother-in-law[12]

In 1806 when first falling in love with Anne, Captain Wentworth was a fine looking young man. He had a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy. He was also witty, which did not help him win the affection of his beloved's godmother, Lady Russell, who believed it to be an aggravation of the devil[2].

RelationshipsEdit

Anne ElliotEdit

He loved Anne when they lived near each other in 1806. They would never stop talking and they were lively in their romance. He was incredibly hurt when she broke it off with him, though. Since he knew the main reasons to be Lady Russell and her father, he blamed her for being such a follower as opposed to finding her own path. When he returned from his many years abroad, he didn't really know what to do with Anne. He was still hurt so he turned his attentions resolutely away from her to the Musgrove girls, finally deciding on Louisa. After Louisa left him for Benwick, Wentworth realized he still had feelings for Anne. He fell in love with her again in Bath and was worried when he realized that Mr. Elliot, heir presumptive to the Elliot baronetcy, was interested in Anne as well. He finally made his sentiments known in a personal letter that he handed to her himself. She, too, had never replaced him and they married, this time with support from her family.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Equivalent of around 1,680,000 USD in April of 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Persuasion, Chapter 4
  3. Chapter 3
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Chapter 9
  5. At end of novel
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Chapter 8
  7. Chapter 6
  8. Chapter 7
  9. 9.0 9.1 Chapter 10
  10. Chapter 11
  11. Chapter 12
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chapter 18
  13. Chapter 19
  14. 14.0 14.1 Chapter 20

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