Captain Wentworth is the prototype of the "new gentleman." Maintaining the good manners, consideration, and sensitivity of the older type, Wentworth adds the qualities of gallantry, independence, and bravery that come with being a well-respected Naval officer. He has made his own fortune through hard work and good sense, in direct contrast to Sir Walter who has only wasted the money that came to him through his title. Without land or high birth, Captain Wentworth is not the traditional match for a woman of Anne Eliot's position. But in true Austenian fashion, his fine personal qualities are enough to surmount the now divide which separates his position from that of Anne.

In the novel, Captain Wentworth develops, eventually overcoming his pride and shame at being once refused, to make another ardent overture to his chosen bride. This development is a sign of a promising future for their relationship. Like Admiral Croft, who allows his wife to drive the carriage alongside him and to help him steer, Captain Wentworth will defer to Anne throughout their marriage. Austen envisions this kind of equal partnership as the ideal marriage.