Three Perspectives on Moral Development in Jane Austen’s Novels Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Persuasion
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In Jane Austen's novels, much has been written about the intrinsic moral development of the characters. However, moral development is determined by immeasurably more than the inner life of the involved individual. In this thesis, it is investigated how three different factors contribute to the moral development of the characters in four of the novels by Jane Austen. The research question is: in what way is the moral development of the characters of Jane Austen’s novels Emma, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park influenced by the corruption of society, moral luck and the opposition between sensitivity and sensibility? In this context, the corruption of society refers to the degree to which the ideals of society encourage corrupt behavior. Moral luck is about the extent to which the moral correctness of a decision determines its outcome. Furthermore, the opposition between sensitivity and sensibility represents the conflict between the two that can occur inside anybody's mind.