Lee has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves evaluating fiction and also obsessing over books, film, and also television.

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Gone with the Wind is a 1939 historic romance movie starring Clark Gable together Rhett Butler and also Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.

The film has long to be applauded for the "epic" romance in between Rhett and also Scarlett who are -- admittedly -- two exceptionally entertaining characters. However it suddenly arisen to me that -- yet again -- we the audience have romanticized what is little an ext than an abusive relationship.


When Rhett an initial sees Scarlett in ~ Twelve Oaks, the leers at her. Leering at someone -- making it apparent that you're reasoning of sex v them -- is nice disrespectful, on optimal of straight-up dehumanizing, and also Rhett does it openly -- in prior of anyone at the barbecue! through his own admission, that is no a gentleman but a finish scoundrel, and Scarlett is not much off the note when she calls the a "nasty dog" for openly leering in ~ her.

To make matters worse, Rhett is in his thirties, while Scarlett is sixteen years old once he meets her. Maybe ago then it was considered "normal" come marry children, however we used to normalize a lot of things that are deeply wrong. He to be a grown man drooling over a teenage girl.

Rhett Butler's development doesn't sugarcoat it: that is a finish bastard. Margaret Mitchell, the woman who wrote the novel, didn't ~ pretend otherwise. For this reason it's a little amazing just how Rhett has actually been romanticized every these years as some type of hero.

He's not.

Love is Kind


Once Rhett discovers Scarlett's an enig about Ashley, that goes the end of his way to humiliate she at every turn. He claims things to her the no sane woman would certainly tolerate -- and also he does it for the entirety of the story.

Scarlett's solution is to speak to Rhett names in frustration, however she never ever quite succeeds in standing approximately him. She is half his age, after all, which means she isn't as emotionally developed and also lacks the capability to stand as much as what is basically a predator.


Because that's what Rhett is: a predator. He showers Scarlett with presents as if he to be luring a kid into his van. The does this repeatedly in-between belittling and mocking her. Once Scarlett calls him out and asks what the expects in return, he is up front around his intentions: he speak Scarlett the he wants her to love him.

But love have the right to not be attained with pretty hats and also silks and fine things. Actual love is no conditional. Imagine being with someone who just loves you since you offer them nice hats! and also yet, that's what Rhett wants. He wants to acquire Scarlett's love like a thing to be purchased.

Does Rhett also see Scarlett together a person being or as an object to obtain? that is ~ love, something he can't also comprehend, something he has actually no idea exactly how to provide to Scarlett -- and also yet that expects it from her! how selfish is that?

What's worse, Rhett shows plenty of times just just how much that "loves" Scarlett by abandoning she whenever she requirements him. Transparent the story, she is regularly backed right into a corner and in desperate require of his help, only to be insulted and also belittled by him everywhere again.


During the scene wherein Rhett is helping Scarlett go home, Rhett decides to leave Scarlett so he deserve to go and assist the Confederates do a critical stand.

There to be no reason whatsoever to abandon Scarlett in a wagon with a pregnant woman in the center of a war zone. None. It to be a fully selfish act. Rhett basically left Scarlett, Melanie, and also Prissy to dice so that he can soothe his ego by playing battle hero in ~ the last minute. Had he love Scarlett, that would have actually stayed through her every the means to Tara.

Let's no dwell ~ above the reality that he likewise forced a rapey kiss on she while she shouted because that him come let go.

Love is Patient

Then there was the step in the jail cell. Scarlett and also her household are on the verge of homelessness because they can't pay taxes top top Tara. Scarlett goes come Rhett trying to charm him into obtaining his help. She isn't honest because she doesn't think he'll aid her otherwise.

Rhett loser patience as soon as he realizes the truth and launches a stream of insults at Scarlett. In the book, i recall it being ten time worse. He no Scarlett due to the fact that she doesn't love him -- as if love someone to be a choice, as if we could just pressure ourselves to loss in love through people.

Yes, it to be wrong because that Scarlett to try to trick Rhett. But Scarlett was additionally destitute and also desperate, and also given the Rhett had actually been so verbally cruel in the past, why would she believe he'd aid her just due to the fact that she asked?

Rhett couldn't access his funds to aid Scarlett also if he want to, however if he loved her, he would have actually had an ext compassion for her situation. And he wouldn't have actually torn she to shreds verbally either.

Rhett's predatory habits continues once he convinces a drunk Scarlett to marry him. Up till now, Scarlett has shown nothing however hatred towards Rhett, peppered through a grudging yongin of his sometimes amusing existence.

What's more, once Rhett proposes, she doesn't require him. She's currently built herself up native nothing and also is fairly wealthy. There's no gold carrot Rhett deserve to wave over her head to attract her now -- which he actually acknowledges in the film. The reality that Scarlett is drunk and also vulnerable when grieving her mistakes through her (recently) deceased husband makes her basic prey, and also Rhett just moves best in.

I firmly think that, had she been sober, Scarlett never ever would have actually agreed to marry Rhett.

Love is never Jealous or Envious

Without trust, over there is no love, and also Rhett never trusted Scarlett.

Rhett spends many of their marriage hanging out v his old girlfriend and also probably sleeping with her. In the book, he was angry v Scarlett for thinking of Ashley while they were having sex -- together if he didn't marry her discovering she was in love v someone else. Scarlett flatly speak Rhett that she's in love through Ashley Wilkes the job he proposes to she (she never lied around anything), and also his response is come grab her, pressure a kiss top top her, and also then need that she marry him -- and she drunkenly claims yes.

Rhett is responsible because that his own misery yet repeatedly blames Scarlett. The complains to Belle Watling the Scarlett is cold and doesn't have actually a love -- again, together if Scarlett to be cruelly withholding her love since we all have actually the choice to just love anyone who requirements it.

Scarlett can't assist that she doesn't love Rhett. She has no manage over that. And why the hell does Rhett expect Scarlett to love him after years of linguistic abuse and also sexual harassment?

Scarlett to be no point of view -- the most delightful thing about her personality is that she's so (tragically) flawed -- however she did no deserve the way Rhett cure her.

A drunken Rhett later on ravishes Scarlett after much more rumors spread around Scarlett and Ashley. This was pretty lot rape. The victim enjoying the assault doesn't make it any less of one assault. If ns beat the crap out of one old man and he eagerly asks me to continue, I'm quiet wrong for beating the crap the end of an old man. Rhett was wrong because that forcing self on Scarlett.

No. Doesn't matter that he to be drunk. Alcohol doesn't develop behavior. It gives world the courage to perform what they already want come do.

When Scarlett announces the she's pregnant through Rhett's 2nd child, Rhett's response is to verbally trash her yet again. That says very awful points to her, which leader to she almost dying. She paris at the in a rage, and when that sidesteps her, she falls down the stair . . . And loses the baby.

While Scarlett is feverish, she calls for Rhett, having developed affection for she serial abuser. Rhett never goes come her, instead remaining in the other room in anguish -- aka guilt.

Rhett and also Scarlett's love is collection up together a bunch the near-misses that ultimately lead to the ultimate destruction of your marriage. In reality, their marriage was in shambles from work one: Scarlett was in love through someone else and also Rhett was forever bitter and trying come punish she for it.

Finally, after ~ Melanie's death, Scarlett concerns the realization the she never loved Ashley and that he never loved her, only lusted for her. Realizing she has actually nothing left, she decides she "loves" Rhett and rushes house to tell him.

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Ironically, Rhett has pertained to the realization that he never loved Scarlett and also was wasting his time chasing a dream. There to be a moment right before Bonnie's fatality when he establish what a bastard that was and decided to shot to change, but Bonnie's death -- as he states in the film -- to be the death of your marriage.

And so, Rhett finally admits to himself what should have actually been apparent all along: