Who will hold on to their power the longest?

Robert is motivated and driven by justice and friendship for his dear friend George Talboys. Lady Audley is motivated by self preservation. But which is stronger? Robert’s power comes from evidence he is gathering, while Lady Audley’s power lies within her charm and emotional influence. This is clearly demonstrated when Lady Audley “avails herself of the very strongest argument” which is to manipulate a “man’s tender heart for the woman he loves” (p. 302, 298). She has solidified the support she needs from Sir Michael to combat Robert is this “war”. It is now time for Robert to be afraid of Lady Audley. However, Robert has collected evidence against Lady Audley, even if Lady Audley could turn Sir Michael against his nephew, Robert has found witnesses who could identify Lady Audley as Helen Talboys. Even without proof that she had anything to do with the disappearance of George, that secret alone could destroy her, which Robert makes very clear in the Lime walk. This power that Robert poses is concrete. His power is rooted in facts and evidence. These things do not vary day to day. They are set in stone and irrefutable. Lady Audley’s power is abstract. It is built upon her influence on other’s emotions, which makes it unreliable. Therefore, Robert’s power is stronger because it will hold up in any circumstance. After all the head does rule the heart, so when it comes down to it Robert’s logical argument will endure Lady Audley’s emotional appeal. In addition, as previously stated, Robert’s motives are pure, he has a “duty to the dead” (p. 291). Robert’s mission is greater than himself. He mentions several times how “a hand stronger than [his] own is beckoning [him] onward” (p. 274). Lady Audley’s motive is selfish and self centered. Her mission is only as big as she is and there is no one, no stronger hand, helping to pull or push her along. Robert’s greater purpose will ensure that he continues on his path no matter what obstacles he faces, whether it is the torment of his uncle or a death threat from his lady. Because Lady Audley serves no greater purpose than for herself, it will be harder for her to continue on through the “war”.

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