Financially dependent on his mother, Edward is privately educated although not trained for a specific profession. His mother wants him to cut a fine figure in the world, but "All his wishes centered in domestic comfort and the quiet of private life."
"Gentlemanlike and pleasing," Edward is not attractive to Marianne. Elinor sees him differently: ". . . his mind is well-informed . . . his imagination lively . . . his taste delicate and pure." She praises the "expression of his eyes" and the "sweetness of his countenance."
Strictly honorable, Edward keeps his promise to Lucy even though he is in love with Elinor. As a lover, he is clumsy and inarticulate; when he is finally free of Lucy, he blurts out an explanation to Elinor but does not then propose. Instead, he "fell into a reverie which no remarks, no inquiries, no affectionate address of Mrs. Dashwood could penetrate, and at last, without saying a word, quitted the room, and walked out toward the village."
He finally proposes to Elinor, persuading her that his affection for her is "as tender, as constant, as she had ever supposed it to be." He achieves the quiet life he yearns for and shows "the ready discharge of his duties in every particular" as a country parson.