Full Name: Marianne Dashwood
Height: Taller than her sister Elinor
Age: 16 at beginning of novel
Education: Home schooled
Carriage(s) Owned: None
Primary Residence: Barton Cottage, after leaving Norland Park, the Dashwood family estate
London Residence: stays with Mrs Jennings
Romantic Interest(s): John Willoughby and Colonel Brandon
Parents: Henry Dashwood and Mrs. Dashwood
Sibling(s): Full Blood:Elinor Dashwood and Margaret Dashwood; Half-Blood:John Dashwood
Marianne Dashwood is the fictional character of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. The seventeen-year-old second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood, she composes the 'sensibility' of the title, as opposed to her elder sister Elinor's 'sense.'
She embraces spontaneity, excessive sensibility, love of nature, and romantic idealism: Marianne weeps dramatically when their family must depart from "dear, dear Norland," and later in the book, exclaims, "Oh! with what transporting sensations have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind! What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight." At which the cooler Elinor replies quietly, "It is not everyone who has your passion for dead leaves." And later when she hears Sir John Middleton's account of Willoughby, her eyes sparkle, and she says, "That is what I like; that is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue."
When Marianne is helped by the dashing John Willoughby, she falls deeply and sincerely in love with him, abhorring all disguise, and ignoring her sister's rational warnings that her impulsive behavior leave her open to gossip and innuendo. His painful spurning of her, and the shocking discovery of his dissipated character, finally causes her to recognize her misjudgment of him. She acts exactly as she feels, thus making herself and everyone around her miserable when Willoughby leaves her, as opposed to her sister, who keeps the secret of Edward's prior engagement to herself in quiet, thoughtful composure.
Abhorring all disguise, she likewise treats her acquaintance in general with inattention and contempt, recoiling from vulgarity, even when it is accompanied by good nature (like Mrs. Jennings), treating her selfish half-brother and his snobbish wife with disgust, totally ignoring the grave Colonel Brandon, and making no attempt at civility to insipid Lady Middleton. The people she does love, however, she loves with warmth that leaps over all barriers – even barriers of propriety. Her sorrows, her joys, her antipathy and her love will have no moderation – no concealing.
Marianne's form is "not so correct as her sister's," but "more striking," and her features are all good, her face is "lovely": her skin is very brown, but from its transparency, "her complexion was uncommonly brilliant," and in her eyes there is "a life, a spirit, an eagerness which could hardly be seen without delight."