sense and sensibility family tree ( Dashwood Family Tree)

Sense and Sensibility Family Tree

Unveiling the Intricate Tapestry of Sense and Sensibility: A Journey into the Enchanting World of Austen’s Literary Lineage

Prepare to be enthralled as we embark on a captivating exploration of the Sense and Sensibility family tree. In this meticulously researched article, we unravel the complexities of the Dashwood family, delving into their rich background and the brilliant mind behind it all, Jane Austen.

Join us on this scholarly quest as we dissect the main characters, their intricate relationships, and the interwoven connections with other influential families, such as the Ferrars and Willoughby.

Whether you are a devoted Austen aficionado or a curious reader seeking comprehensive understanding, this compelling analysis will transport you into a world of elegance, emotions, and everlasting legacies.

Key Takeaways

  • The Dashwood family consists of Mr. Henry Dashwood, the head of the family, and his three daughters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.
  • After Mr. Dashwood’s death, his son from his first marriage, John Dashwood, inherits the family estate, but is heavily influenced by his wife Fanny Dashwood.
  • Sir John Middleton, a distant relation, provides the Dashwood family with a cottage, where they reside after losing their home.
  • Understanding the family background is crucial for comprehending the actions and motivations of the characters in the novel.

Dashwood Family

The Dashwood family, consisting of Mr. Henry Dashwood and his three daughters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, plays a central role in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’.

Mr. Henry Dashwood is the head of the family, a kind-hearted and generous man who cares deeply for his daughters.

Elinor, the eldest sister, is characterized by her practicality and restraint, while Marianne, the middle sister, is known for her passionate and impulsive nature. Margaret, the youngest sister, is portrayed as a spirited and curious child.

The family’s fortunes take a turn for the worse when Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his estate, Norland, to his son John Dashwood from his first marriage.

This event sets the stage for the Dashwood sisters’ journey of love, loss, and self-discovery in the novel.

Family Background

With the Dashwood family established as the central characters in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’, it is essential to delve into their family background.

The family tree and genealogy of the Dashwoods provide valuable insights into the dynamics and relationships within the story. The patriarch of the family is Henry Dashwood, who passes away at the beginning of the novel. His wife, Mrs. Dashwood, and their three daughters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, become the focus of the narrative.

John Dashwood, Henry’s son from his first marriage, inherits the family estate but is heavily influenced by his wife, Fanny Dashwood. Sir John Middleton, a distant relation, plays a significant role in the lives of the Dashwoods, providing them with a cottage to live in.

Understanding the family background is crucial for comprehending the characters’ actions and motivations throughout the novel.

Jane Austen

To fully understand the context and inspiration behind the Dashwood family in Sense and Sensibility, it is imperative to explore the life and works of Jane Austen.

Jane Austen, an esteemed English novelist, was born on December 16, 1775, in Hampshire, England. She is known for her keen observations of social class, love, and marriage in the Regency era.

Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, tells the story of the Dashwood family, particularly the sisters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. This classic work showcases Austen’s ability to depict complex characters and their relationships.

The novel introduces key figures such as Edward Ferrars, Fanny Ferrars, John Willoughby, Colonel Brandon, Mrs. Dashwood, and Mr. Dashwood, all intricately woven into the family tree of the Dashwood clan.

Austen’s expert storytelling and examination of societal norms make Sense and Sensibility a timeless piece of literature.

Main Characters

Within the world of Sense and Sensibility, the main characters play pivotal roles in the unfolding narrative. Jane Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility, introduces us to the Dashwood family, whose members navigate the complexities of love, societal expectations, and personal growth.

The family tree of the Dashwoods revolves around the sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Elinor, the eldest, is sensible and reserved, while Marianne is passionate and impulsive. Their contrasting personalities drive the story forward and provide opportunities for character development.

Other significant characters include Edward Ferrars, Elinor’s love interest, and Colonel Brandon, a kind and honorable gentleman who falls for Marianne. Additionally, John Dashwood, the sisters’ half-brother, and John Willoughby, a charming but deceitful suitor, contribute to the intricate web of relationships that shape the plot of Sense and Sensibility.

Other Families

The novel Sense and Sensibility introduces several other families that interact with the Dashwoods throughout the story. These families play crucial roles in the development of the plot and the relationships of the main characters.

  • The Ferrars: Edward Ferrars, the love interest of Elinor Dashwood, comes from this family. His secretive engagement to Lucy Steele creates complications and conflicts.
  • The Middletons: Sir John Middleton and his wife, Lady Middleton, are distant relatives of the Dashwoods. They provide a contrast to the refined Dashwood sisters with their more boisterous and social nature.
  • The Willoughbys: John Willoughby enters the story as a charming and romantic figure, capturing the heart of Marianne Dashwood. However, his true character is revealed when he abandons Marianne for a wealthy heiress.

These families, with their various dynamics and entanglements, contribute to the themes of love, marriage, and societal expectations that are central to the novel.


Edward Ferrars, a pivotal character in Sense and Sensibility, navigates through a web of secrecy and conflicting loyalties that greatly impact the lives of the Dashwood sisters. As the first-born son of the Ferrars family, Edward is expected to marry well and secure the family’s fortune. However, his heart is captured by Elinor Dashwood, leading him to face numerous obstacles in their path to happiness. Edward’s brother, Robert Ferrars, is a contrast to his reserved and honorable character, as he is depicted as selfish and shallow. Another significant figure in the Ferrars family is Sir John, their old and wealthy uncle, who is a source of financial support but also a symbol of societal expectations. The table below provides a summary of the key members in the Ferrars family:

Sir JohnUncle

Edward’s journey in Sense and Sensibility highlights the complexities of family dynamics and the struggles faced when societal pressures clash with personal desires.


As a key character intertwined with the Ferrars family, Willoughby plays a significant role in the intricate web of relationships and secrets depicted in Sense and Sensibility. Willoughby’s connection to the Steele sisters, Lucy and Anne, adds a layer of complexity to his character.

He forms a relationship with Marianne Dashwood, the second daughter of the Dashwood family, only to abruptly break her heart and marry another woman, leaving Marianne devastated. Willoughby’s actions highlight the consequences of impulsive decisions and the importance of societal expectations in the Regency era.

Furthermore, his relationship with Colonel Brandon, Marianne’s eventual husband, provides a contrast between honor and deceit.

Willoughby’s cousin, Robert Ferrars, also plays a role in his story, as they both engage in scandalous behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Significance of the Dashwood Family’s Connection to the Ferrars and Willoughby Families?

The connection between the Dashwood family and the Ferrars and Willoughby families in Sense and Sensibility holds significant importance. Analyzing this connection sheds light on the intricate relationships, social dynamics, and themes of love, marriage, and class in the novel.

How Does the Family Background of the Dashwoods Influence the Events and Relationships in ‘Sense and Sensibility’?

The family background of the Dashwoods in “Sense and Sensibility” plays a significant role in influencing the events and relationships in the novel. Their social status, financial situation, and personal values shape their actions and interactions with other characters, ultimately shaping the plot and outcomes of the story.

What Other Works Did Jane Austen Write That Are Related to the Themes and Characters in ‘Sense and Sensibility’?

Jane Austen wrote several other works that explore similar themes and characters as “Sense and Sensibility.” These include “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” and “Mansfield Park,” all of which delve into societal expectations, love, and the challenges faced by women in 19th-century England.

Are There Any Major Characters in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ Who Are Not Part of the Dashwood, Ferrars, or Willoughby Families?

Yes, there are major characters in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ who are not part of the Dashwood, Ferrars, or Willoughby families. These characters contribute to the development of the plot and themes in the novel.

Can You Provide a Brief Overview of the Social and Historical Context in Which ‘Sense and Sensibility’ Is Set?

The social and historical context of “Sense and Sensibility” is a crucial aspect of understanding the novel. It provides insight into the societal norms, class distinctions, and gender roles that shape the lives of the characters and influence the events of the story.

Q: What is the book “Sense and Sensibility” about?

A: “Sense and Sensibility” is a novel written by Jane Austen. It follows the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate love, societal expectations, and family drama.

Q: Is there a family tree for the characters in “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: Yes, there is a family tree that provides information on the relationships and connections between the characters in “Sense and Sensibility.”

Q: Where can I find the family tree for “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: You can find the family tree for “Sense and Sensibility” in the book itself, or you may be able to find it online on websites dedicated to Jane Austen or the novel.

Q: Who are the main characters in “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: The main characters in “Sense and Sensibility” include Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Colonel Brandon, Edward Ferrars, and John Willoughby.

Q: What is the history behind “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: “Sense and Sensibility” was first published in 1811, during the Regency era in England. It is one of Jane Austen’s most beloved works and offers a glimpse into the social mores and relationships of the time.

Q: Does “Sense and Sensibility” have a post-credit scene?

A: No, “Sense and Sensibility” is a novel and does not have a post-credit scene like movies do. It is a complete story on its own.

Q: Is there a movie adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: Yes, there have been multiple movie adaptations of “Sense and Sensibility,” including the 1995 film directed by Ang Lee and starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.

Q: Can you provide a summary of “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: “Sense and Sensibility” follows the Dashwood sisters as they navigate the challenges of love and societal expectations. Elinor, the eldest sister, is reserved and rational, while Marianne is passionate and guided by her emotions. Both sisters face heartbreak and must learn to find a balance between sense and sensibility in their pursuit of happiness.

Q: Who is Margaret Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: Margaret Dashwood is the youngest sister of Elinor and Marianne. While she doesn’t play a major role in the story, she provides insight into the relationships and dynamics within the Dashwood family.

Q: What role does money play in “Sense and Sensibility”?

A: Money is a significant factor in “Sense and Sensibility.” The Dashwood sisters, after their father’s death, must navigate the limitations placed upon them due to their reduced financial circumstances. It influences their choices and impacts their relationships.


In conclusion, the family tree of the Dashwoods in Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility provides a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationships and dynamics within the story.

This genealogical framework allows readers to delve into the background of the characters, explore their connections to other families like the Ferrars and Willoughby, and gain insights into the social and cultural context of the time.

Overall, the family tree serves as a valuable tool for analyzing the intricate plot and themes of the novel.