Mansfield Park

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Mr. Rushworth Character Analysis

Mr. Rushworth is a neighbor of the Bertrams and Maria’s fiancé and later husband. He is slow-witted and boring but very rich. Throughout the first half of the book, Mr. Rushworth tags along with the Bertrams and the Crawfords as they socialize, often weighing down the conversation, and seeming alternatively comedic and pitiable in his lack of social grace. Maria marries him for his wealth and property, and when she later leaves him to run away with Henry, Mr. Rushworth divorces her.

Mr. Rushworth Quotes in Mansfield Park

The Mansfield Park quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Rushworth or refer to Mr. Rushworth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Mansfield Park published in 2001.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Maria Bertram was beginning to think matrimony a duty; and as a marriage with Mr. Rushworth would give her the enjoyment of a larger income than her father’s, as well as ensure her the house in town, which was now a prime object, it became, by the same rule of moral obligation, her evident duty to marry Mr. Rushworth if she could.

Related Characters: Maria Bertram, Mr. Rushworth
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Maria, who is now 21 and of prime marrying age, is beginning to feel the societal pressure to get married. For Maria, marriage is not a dream, but rather a “duty”— an unfortunate reality rather than a happy fantasy. That “duty,” moreover, is not even a religious duty, but according to the quote, becomes confused with a moral one. Maria’s decision to marry Mr. Rushworth is purely strategic: she wants to ensure that she will have a large income and access to the city of London, thus securing her financial and social status. Maria’s understanding of marriage as a practical duty, not a fairytale or even a religious obligation, shows how marriage not only structures women’s romantic lives, but also determines their monetary situation, where they will live, and which social circles they will belong to.

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Chapter 10 Quotes

“Your prospects…are too fair to justify want of spirits. You have a very smiling scene before you.”
“Do you mean literally or figuratively? Literally, I conclude. Yes, certainly, the sun shines, and the park looks very cheerful. But unluckily that iron gate, that ha-ha, give me a feeling of restraint and hardship. ‘I cannot get out,’ as the starling said.”

Related Characters: Maria Bertram (speaker), Henry Crawford (speaker), Fanny Price, Mr. Rushworth
Related Symbols: The Gate at Sotherton
Page Number: 67-68
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Henry and Maria are lingering near the locked iron gate in the woods, waiting for Mr. Rushworth to return and bring them the key while Fanny looks on. Henry and Mary are discussing Henry’s ride to Sotherton with Julia, and Julia’s light-heartedness. The first speaker of the quote is Henry, telling Maria that she should be smiling like Julia, since a “smiling scene” surrounds her.

When Maria responds to Henry, she first asks him if his comment about the “smiling scene” is literal or figurative, and the idea of taking a “smiling scene” figuratively evokes Maria’s impending marriage to Mr. Rushworth, which is socially and financially advantageous, and should ostensibly make her happy. Maria replies that the “sun shines,” and the “park looks cheerful,” but that the iron gate gives her a feeling of “restraint and hardship.”

Maria is describing her actual surroundings—but her words, if read metaphorically, also suggest that, though the marriage Maria is about to enter into is a good match on paper, and though it would provide her with a financially secure and luxurious life, Maria feels stifled by the institution of marriage, and particularly the idea of her marriage to Mr. Rushworth. The gate represents the constraints and strictness of life in a loveless marriage, and so when Maria and Henry later jump over the fence together, they foreshadow their escape from marriage in the form of their adulterous, ruinous affair.

Chapter 21 Quotes

It was a very proper wedding. The bride was elegantly dressed– the two bridesmaids were duly inferior– her father gave her away– her mother stood with salts in her hands, expecting to be agitated– her aunt tried to cry…Nothing could be objected to when it came under the discussion of the neighbourhood, except that the carriage which conveyed the bride and bridegroom and Julia from the church door to Sotherton, was the same chaise which Mr. Rushworth had used for a twelvemonth before. In every thing else the etiquette of the day might stand the strictest investigation.

Related Characters: Julia Bertram, Maria Bertram, Mr. Rushworth
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, the narrator describes Maria’s marriage to Mr. Rushworth, which takes place soon after Sir Bertram comes back from Antigua and Henry leaves Mansfield, dashing her hopes of a proposal.

Maria’s marriage is described not as loving or beautiful, but as “proper,” suggesting that, foremost, it has fulfilled all social expectations. The narrator then goes on to list what made it “proper,” with each item separated by an em-dash as if being checked off a list— the fact that the bridesmaids were less beautiful than the bride, that Maria’s father gave her away, that her female relatives feigned emotion. The narrator’s view of the marriage ceremony is distinctly cynical, focused on correct appearances rather than substance, and fulfilling the stereotypical image of a wedding to a tee.

The narrator’s comment that “nothing could be objected to when it came under the discussion of the neighbourhood,” and her later statement that “the etiquette of the day might stand the strictest investigation” suggest that the wedding will be scrutinized and picked apart, with neighbors looking for flaws in the wedding’s properness or the “happy couple’s” happy veneer. Weddings, based on the narrator’s description, are ceremonies to be carried out for the sake of appearances, not happy events for true celebration.

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Mr. Rushworth Character Timeline in Mansfield Park

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Rushworth appears in Mansfield Park. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
The Country vs. the City Theme Icon
Once social events start up again, Mrs. Norris becomes preoccupied with marrying off Maria. Mr. Rushworth , a rich man, is courting her. Maria, age 21, is satisfied with Mr. Rushworth’s... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
To this end, Mrs. Norris befriends Mr. Rushworth ’s mother. Mrs. Rushworth is also in favor of the match, and the two make... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...seems to be, on his sister’s end, more about money than love. Edmund also thinks Mr. Rushworth is rather stupid. (full context)
Chapter 5
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...Maria also finds herself drawn to Henry, but feels conflicted because she is engaged to Mr. Rushworth . Henry, who is actively flirting with both young women, rationalizes his flirtation by telling... (full context)
Chapter 6
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Rushworth visits Mansfield for the first time since Henry and Mary have arrived. Mr. Rushworth plans... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Mrs. Norris praises Mr. Rushworth ’s wealth, commenting that she imagines he will spare no expense. She then rambles about... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
But then Mr. Rushworth again brings up the grounds at Sotherton, comparing them to other estates in the area.... (full context)
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the rest of the party is still discussing Mr. Rushworth ’s landscaping. Mrs. Grant asks Henry if he has any thoughts on the matter, since... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
...and Mrs. Grant encourage him to share his opinion, and Henry agrees to give it. Mr. Rushworth invites him to come to Sotherton to take a look at the place, and Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...Edmund and Julia are invited to dinner at the Parsonage, but Maria is not because Mr. Rushworth is supposed to pay a visit to Mansfield. Still, the lack of an invitation upsets... (full context)
Chapter 8
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Fanny begins riding again the next morning. While she is out, Mr. Rushworth and his mother arrive at Mansfield Park in order to plan the group visit to... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
While Mr. Rushworth is out, Mrs. Grant and Mary arrive at Mansfield. The Mansfield residents fill them in... (full context)
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
...invite Mary and Mrs. Grant to Sotherton. Mrs. Grant turns her down, but Mary accepts. Mr. Rushworth then returns with the news that Henry can come on the date they agreed upon,... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Once they arrive closer to Sotherton, however, Maria remembers her engagement to Mr. Rushworth and perks up. She points out the land that Mr. Rushworth owns to Mary, bragging... (full context)
Chapter 9
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Rushworth greets his guests at the door, and shows them to the drawing room where Mrs.... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Julia, meanwhile, calls Henry’s attention to Maria and Mr. Rushworth , saying that the chapel surroundings make them look like a bride and groom. Henry... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...garden and into the woods, with Henry heading to the terrace first, then Maria, and Mr. Rushworth following. Edmund, Mary, and Fanny show up close to the gate, sticking together in a... (full context)
Chapter 10
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...Fanny is still sitting on the bench, surprised to be left for so long. Maria, Mr. Rushworth , and Henry stumble upon her. Fanny explains her exhaustion and Edmund and Mary’s abandonment.... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...to a knoll that they spot, that looks like it’s about a half mile away. Mr. Rushworth , however, has forgotten the key to the gate, and so he heads back to... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
With Mr. Rushworth gone, Maria and Henry discuss his thoughts on the house. Henry says it is bigger... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Fanny suggests that Julia should wait for Mr. Rushworth to arrive with the key, but Julia says that she has “had enough” of the... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Five minutes after Julia leaves, Mr. Rushworth shows up, and when Fanny explains that the others have not waited for him, he... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Rushworth asks Fanny if she likes Henry as much as everyone else seems to, saying that... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Maria, Julia, Henry, and Mr. Rushworth return late. Things are still a little tense because Maria did not wait for her... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...that Julia sit with him again up front, much to Julia’s delight and Maria’s disappointment. Mr. Rushworth says goodbye to Maria, helping her into the carriage. (full context)
Chapter 11
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Letters and Character Theme Icon
...is especially displeased because her father’s return means that she will finally be married to Mr. Rushworth , an event she has been dreading. She consoles herself by imagining that he will... (full context)
Chapter 12
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
During those two weeks Maria spends a lot of time with Mr. Rushworth , who bores her out of her mind, and that makes her miss Henry more.... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...which happens to be Fanny’s first. Mrs. Norris draws Mrs. Rushworth’s attention to Maria and Mr. Rushworth , who are dance partners. Maria does look happy and talks excitedly to Mr. Rushworth—at... (full context)
Chapter 13
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
...especially since their father is absent, and since Maria is about to be married to Mr. Rushworth . Tom complains that Edmund takes everything too seriously, that they will have no audience... (full context)
Chapter 15
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Maria returns home, reporting that Mary has accepted her part. Mr. Rushworth arrives at the house, and is offered either the part of Anhalt or Count Casel.... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
When Edmund enters the drawing room, he stumbles upon the group mid-discussion. Mr. Rushworth tells him that they have chosen “Lovers’ Vows” and that he is playing Count Casel,... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...Amelia. Edmund turns to sit near Mrs. Norris, Lady Bertram, and Fanny at the fire. Mr. Rushworth tells him that he has forty-two speeches in the play, and talks about his clothes... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...and says they should not waste money on a new set. She adds that, since Mr. Rushworth will be acting as well, there can be no harm for Maria’s reputation. She then... (full context)
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
...the tension between Edmund and Tom, Julia’s sourness about her part, and the fact that Mr. Rushworth ’s repeated attempts to center the conversation on himself, his speeches, and his dress are... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Mary asks who is going to play Anhalt, who has not yet been cast. Mr. Rushworth brags about the number of his speeches. Mr. Yates suggests that Edmund should take the... (full context)
Chapter 17
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...offers to make Edmund’s costume, Mr. Yates tells him Anhalt is a good part, and Mr. Rushworth counts his lines. (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...she thinks both sisters are. Mrs. Grant is shocked and tells her to think of Mr. Rushworth . Mary responds by saying that Maria is the one who needs to think of... (full context)
Chapter 18
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
...the goings-on, and likes to slip into the theatre to watch their rehearsals. She aids Mr. Rushworth in memorizing his lines, as he is having a great deal of difficulty. Meanwhile, Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 19
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Everyone is shocked by Sir Thomas’s sudden arrival. Julia, Edmund, Tom, Maria, and Mr. Rushworth go to meet their father, while Fanny stays with the guests. The Crawfords soon leave,... (full context)
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...her off guard. He is very merry, happily telling stories of his travels and greeting Mr. Rushworth with a firm handshake. Lady Bertram is very happy to see her husband despite her... (full context)
Chapter 20
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
The Country vs. the City Theme Icon
...she is hoping Henry will declare his love for her before she has to marry Mr. Rushworth . The Crawfords and the Bertrams, however, do not see each other for several days.... (full context)
Chapter 21
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
The Country vs. the City Theme Icon
...family is much more somber and less social. Sir Thomas refuses to let anyone besides Mr. Rushworth visit. Edmund laments the exclusion of the Grants, and says that he thinks Sir Thomas... (full context)
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
...the fact that Edmund, Tom, and Sir Thomas are going to eat at Sotherton with Mr. Rushworth tomorrow, and hopes Sir Thomas will continue to like Mr. Rushworth. Edmund doubts that will... (full context)
Chapter 22
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
They are sitting on a bench and discussing Mr. Rushworth and Maria’s marriage when Edmund appears with Mrs. Grant. Mary tells Fanny she is glad... (full context)
Chapter 25
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Mrs. Norris, catching on the topic of Sotherton, tells William that Maria and Mr. Rushworth are at Brighton and that William should visit them on his way to Portsmouth. William... (full context)
Chapter 43
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Letters and Character Theme Icon
...Mansfield whenever she wants, and she mentions a party where they will see Maria and Mr. Rushworth . (full context)
Chapter 44
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Letters and Character Theme Icon
...at a recent party. He describes the coolness between them, and says that Maria and Mr. Rushworth ’s marriage seems to be going fine. Edmund tells Fanny that the Grants are moving... (full context)
Chapter 48
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Rushworth divorces Maria. Once Henry eventually leaves her (it is unclear in the text why or... (full context)