Mrs. Edlin: Character Analysis in - Jude The Obscure

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      Unlike the maiden great aunt Drusilla, Mrs. Edlin is an elderly matron-like gentle lady whose tongue utters only polished words of wisdom. Of course, sometimes she upsets others by inadvertence for example on the eve of the proposed marriage day of Sue and Jude she recounts the terrible story of an ancestor who had been gibbeted for petty larceny and his wife's later turning mad. This story makes Jude and Sue desist from their proposed marriage either at the Church or at the Registrar's office. Thus though unwittingly this Mrs. Edlin affects the course of the plot of the novel to a minor extent.

      Helpful nature with largeheartedness. As an average village matron, she used to extend simple help and practical suggestions to younger folks and fellow citizens. She attended to Miss Fawley a couple of times when she fell ill and informed Jude of the illness too. When Jude and Sue invite her for the proposed wedding she takes with her odd gifts like apple jam and useful utensils of diverse nature. As a pious lady with a God-fearing temperament, she used to say prayers regularly. She frequently used to refer to her wedded life before the death of her husband. "Marry in haste and repent at leisure she used to warn people who do not consider the pros and cons before getting involved in wedlock. She comes to help Jude and Sue at the time of Jude's illness when Sue could not do much because of her children. Later on, when Sue, as a result of the tragic death of her children, decides to go back to Phillotson she dissuades her. She even advises Phillotson against his accepting Sue once again. Both of them do not pay heed to her sane advice and as it happens both of them suffer as a result of this faulty step.

      Advises Sue against complete surrender. When Sue disregards her advice and goes back to Phillotson, Mrs. Edlin warns her once again not to aggravate her mental torture by any faulty decision as to physically surrender the elderly schoolmaster. That Sue once again ignores her sane advice is a different matter. It was she who suffered for it. As Mrs. Edlin remarks to Arabella later Sue becomes "tired and miserable. Years and years older than when you saw her last." She expresses her hope that Sue might attain peace though Arabella does not hope so. On the whole, Hardy has given us a simple-hearted village woman who tries to be of some use to others although much cannot be expected of her.

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