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Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen

General Tilney

Characters General Tilney

General Tilney comes the closest of any character to being an antagonist in Northanger Abbey, though that term is too strong to describe his role. When Catherine suspects Tilney of murdering his wife, she perceives him as a villain. In fact, the General's true crimes consist of being too concerned with wealth and finery, and perhaps of robbing Catherine of her imaginative vision of a real Gothic abbey. Tilney is not a storybook villain, or even a villain from a Gothic novel. He is realistic man, a wealth-obsessed real estate developer who gets in the way of his children's happiness. Like John Thorpe, he is given to boasting and preoccupied with himself when he is not meddling in his children's lives.