Have you ever found yourself screaming at the screen as two people decide to embark on life's journey together when they should really not be doing anything of the kind? We know that it's doomed before they even take the vow but they don't - that's the trouble! Here are (in my opinion and in no particular order) the five most mermorable such occasions. SPOILER ALERT:
1. Mr. Edward Ferrars and Miss Lucy Steele
Obligation is not a solid foundation for a long and happy marriage yet the ever-honourable Mr. Ferrars feels it his duty to make good on his misguided promise to marry Miss Steele after a youthful dalliance many years before he meets one Eleanor Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Fortunately, circumstances conspire against this particular Ferrars/Steele union without Edward having to kick her unceremoniously to the kerb in favour of Eleanor. He remains a nice guy, downtrodden Eleanor gets a break and Lucy bags herself the wealthy younger brother. Cha ching!
2. Mr David Copperfield and Miss Dora Spenlow
First love can be wonderfully exhilirating but, as Charles Dickens' David Copperfield chronicled, youthful infatuation and being in love with being in love are not solid foundations for a long and successful partnership. David Copperfield is not a liar, cheat or cad but he is naive and does not appreciate that spoilt little rich girl Dora cannot cope very well with the rigours of being the wife of a young man of much more slender means than those to which she is accustomed. Her health declines, their relationship sours and they both realise that life is not always a turn around the park!
3. Heathcliff and Isabella Linton
Revenge is a dish best served as far away from a marriage licence as possible as Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights testifies. Marrying the sister of the man who has married the only woman that you have ever or will ever love does keep it all in the family but rather strains family ties. Brother and sister become estranged, the love of your life comes to resent you even more and all the hurt and misery you cause is ultimately of small consolation to you. In conclusion, it's a thoroughly bad idea with the potential of ruining many lives and disturbing the housekeeper's routine.
4. Simon Doyle and Linnet Ridgeway
In Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, ridiculously wealthy American heiress Linnet takes a fancy to the handsome, down-on-his-luck fiance of her old school friend. He is seduced by her beauty and her extravagant lifestyle and before long they've married and booked a cruise on the Nile for the honeymoon. Money, glamour and a pretty face are all well and good but they cannot hope to compete with a deep and meaningful connection between two people and, when Simon's former fiancee and soul mate refuses to accept her reversal of fortunate in the love stakes, it can only mean one thing - murder on the starboard side...........
5. Titania and Bottom
People who find themselves romantically entangled can learn a lot from the previous four scenarios, I feel. As pictured above, however, our fifth couple come together in particularly unusual circumstances. Bottom and Titania enjoy a night together in A Midsummer Night's Dream but once his head is transformed back into that of a human and not an ass and once her love potion has worn off, I really can't see a sustainable future for the queen of the fairies and the amateur dramatist. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm a cynic!