Persuasion

Captain Frederick Wentworth Character Analysis

The love interest of Anne Elliot, Captain Wentworth is a passionate, confident, and good-hearted naval officer who makes his own fortune and rank through the Navy. Though he is initially indignant and angry with what he perceives to be Anne’s “weak will” and “ill-usage” of him in breaking off their engagement, he comes to appreciate her careful consideration of duty and recognize the error of his stubborn pride in separating them. His view of what the most important virtues in a woman are change throughout the novel, as he first prizes firmness of character above all else and later realizes the virtue of flexibility and conscientiousness.

Captain Frederick Wentworth Quotes in Persuasion

The Persuasion quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Frederick Wentworth or refer to Captain Frederick Wentworth. 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:
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Persuasion published in 1997.
Chapter 4 Quotes

More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful interest had reached its close, and time had softened down much, perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him,--but she had been too dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place . . . or in any novelty or enlargement of society.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

O; the years which had destroyed [Anne’s] youth and bloom had only given [Captain Wentworth] a more glowing, manly, open look, in no respect lessoning his personal advantages. . . . It was now his object to marry. He was rich, and being turned on shore, fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly tempted; actually looing round, ready to fall in love with all the speed which a clear head and quick taste could allow.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Captain Wentworth had not forgiven Anne Elliot. She had used him ill; deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others. It had been the effect of over-persuasion. It had been weakness and timidity.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

Once so much to each other! Now nothing! . . . With the exception of Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could allow no other exception even among the married couples) there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on. . . . Let those who would be happy be firm.—Here is a nut. To exemplify,—a beautiful glossy nut, which blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot any where.

Related Characters: Captain Frederick Wentworth (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

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Yes—he had done it. She was in the carriage, and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she owed it to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to giver her rest. . . . It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impulse pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded with pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

It was evident that the gentleman admired her exceedingly. Captain Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it. He gave her a momentary glance,—a glance of brightness, which seemed to say, “That man is struck with you,—and even I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again.”

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth, Mr. William Elliot
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him, that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel, that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness, as a very resolute character.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

There [Anne and Captain Wentowrth] returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other’s character, truth, and attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

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Captain Frederick Wentworth Character Timeline in Persuasion

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Frederick Wentworth appears in Persuasion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Captain Frederick Wentworth , Mr. Wentworth’s brother, is the subject of Anne’s anticipation; he lived in Monkford in... (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Persuasion Theme Icon
Anne and Captain Wentworth planned to marry, but Sir Walter and Lady Russell considered the alliance very degrading and... (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Persuasion Theme Icon
...does not blame Lady Russell for her advice, she regrets her decision; time has justified Captain Wentworth ’s hopes for the future, as he has by now attained a handsome future and... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Croft has an amiable and easy manner. To her excitement and anxiety, Anne learns that Captain Wentworth will soon be visiting. (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Mrs. Musgrove is unsettled by the mention of Captain Wentworth . Her son Dick, a troublesome and stupid youth, was sent to work in the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Captain Wentworth arrives to stay with his sister, Mrs. Croft, at Kellynch Hall. Mr. Musgrove returns from... (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Anne feels very anxious about seeing Captain Wentworth again after so many years. However, the day he visits their reunion is delayed; as... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
...have to stay at home to care for the boy and miss out on meeting Captain Wentworth . Anne offers to stay at home with the boy herself, and Mary delightedly departs. (full context)
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Anne wonders about Captain Wentworth ’s feelings are for her after all these years, believing him to be either unwilling... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth calls on Mary the following morning, before leaving to hunt with Charles. He briefly acknowledges... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth , for his part, has not forgiven Anne; he was deeply attached to her, and... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Captain Wentworth and Anne see each other frequently at dinners and other meetings, as they are now... (full context)
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Henrietta and Louisa eagerly question Captain Wentworth about the Navy. Mrs. Musgrove grieves at this reminder of her son, and Captain Wentworth... (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...the piano, her eyes occasionally tearing with emotion. Everyone is having a delightful time, and Captain Wentworth is in the highest of spirits. He is the center of attention, and all the... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Captain Wentworth pays regular visits to the Musgroves at Uppercross. It is clear he is a favorite... (full context)
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Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...Henrietta so long as it makes her happy. Mary, however, wants to see Henrietta and Captain Wentworth paired off, as she considers the Hayters a degrading alliance. (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
One morning, Captain Wentworth inadvertently finds himself alone with Anne and the little invalid child while looking for Henrietta... (full context)
Chapter 10
Marriage Theme Icon
After further observation, Anne believes that Captain Wentworth is in love with neither Henrietta nor Louisa. They are more infatuated with him; though... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
...as well with the intention of tempering the situation. They run into Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth and set out together. Captain Wentworth and Louisa flirt gaily; at one point, she exclaims... (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
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...Henrietta will visit the Hayters. The others wait and wander in the woods. Louisa and Captain Wentworth separate from the group. Mary cannot be satisfied with sitting still, as she is convinced... (full context)
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Anne overhears Louisa telling Captain Wentworth that she encouraged Henrietta to visit Charles Hayter, though Henrietta would have turned back after... (full context)
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As they walk away, Louisa tells Captain Wentworth that she wishes her brother had married Anne instead of the snobbish Mary. He inquires... (full context)
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On their way back, they run into Admiral and Mrs. Croft in their carriage. Captain Wentworth arranges for them to give Anne a lift, displaying a touching and gallant sensitivity to... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Just as Anne anticipates visiting Lady Russell, Captain Wentworth returns from a visit with friends at Lyme with warm reports of the seaside town.... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...amiably discuss the local affairs and the health benefits of the seaside. They run into Captain Wentworth and Louisa, who are also taking a stroll. As they head back for breakfast, they... (full context)
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At the inn, Anne discovers that the admiring gentleman is also staying at their inn. Captain Wentworth inquires as to his identity, and it turns out that he is none other than... (full context)
Persuasion Theme Icon
...rejuvenating his widower friend. Louisa is determined to leap from a set of stairs into Captain Wentworth ’s arms. Despite his concern about the hardness of the pavement, she insists on doing... (full context)
Persuasion Theme Icon
...that Louisa will stay with the Harvilles to recover under the care of Anne, and Captain Wentworth , Henrietta, and Mary will report the accident to the Musgroves. However, Mary objects that... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth is deeply grieved and blames himself for giving way to Louisa’s foolish determination. Anne wonders... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...the events that have recently absorbed the Musgroves. Anne informs her about the attachment between Captain Wentworth and Louisa. (full context)
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...regard for the Crofts. They discuss the accident at Lyme, and the Crofts report that Captain Wentworth has praised her helpfulness in all of it. Admiral Croft kindly invites Anne to make... (full context)
Chapter 14
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
The Musgroves return to Uppercross, restoring the house to its familial cheer. Henrietta and Captain Wentworth remain at Lyme to nurse Louisa, who is rapidly improving and is expected home soon.... (full context)
Chapter 18
Marriage Theme Icon
...recovered from mourning. Anne is pleased for them and feels joy at the prospect of Captain Wentworth “unshackled and free.” (full context)
Status and Social Class Theme Icon
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...friendly conversation. They discuss the engagement between Louisa and Benwick; Anne delicately inquires as to Captain Wentworth ’s feelings on the matter, and Admiral Croft relates that Captain Wentworth appears perfectly satisfied... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Lady Dalrymple while Anne walks back with Mr. Elliot. As they wait in a store, Captain Wentworth arrives with another group; for the first time, he seems more flustered than Anne in... (full context)
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For her own part, Anne cannot understand Captain Wentworth ’s feelings—whether he suffers over Louisa. The next day, Lady Russell pretends not to see... (full context)
Chapter 20
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At the concert, Captain Wentworth greets Anne and the two speak. To Anne’s gratification, Sir Walter and Elizabeth acknowledge their... (full context)
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Anne experiences some dismay at these hints, but she is mainly preoccupied with Captain Wentworth and the desire to see him again. However, he remains distant for the rest of... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...reflecting along the way on Mr. Elliot’s attentions with gratitude and regret. She feels that Captain Wentworth will have her love forever. She happily recounts the previous evening to an attentive Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...Mr. Elliot. Anne remarks that she would much prefer the play over the party, which Captain Wentworth overhears. Sir Walter and Elizabeth arrive to extend their invitation to the Musgroves and Captain... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...confined with their feelings, whereas men have their profession, pursuits, and business to distract them. Captain Wentworth , writing a letter nearby, drops his quill and startles them; Anne wonders whether he... (full context)
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Captain Harville and Captain Wentworth depart to mail his letter. However, Captain Wentworth returns a moment later to hastily slip... (full context)
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...others fret that she is unwell, and Charles insists on walking her home. They encounter Captain Wentworth on the road, and he replaces Charles at Anne’s side. The two of them take... (full context)
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Despite his determination to forget Anne, Captain Wentworth has loved her all along. Though he flirted with Louisa out of angry pride, the... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth recounts the ecstasy and agony of seeing Anne at Bath, where he went immediately in... (full context)
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...of events. That evening at the party, she glows with joy and benevolence. She tells Captain Wentworth that, after reflection, she has no regrets in submitting to Lady Russell’s advice—even though the... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...determination of young couples to marry against all odds with the advantages of Anne and Captain Wentworth , who possess maturity of mind, consciousness of right, and independence of fortune. Now that... (full context)
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...regrets that she has few connections of real merit in friends and family to offer Captain Wentworth in marriage, he warmly attaches himself to her friends Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith. He... (full context)
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Anne and Captain Wentworth enjoy a happy marriage; her tenderness is met in his affection. She delights in being... (full context)