Originally Posted by fantasyfan
I think this is one of the problems of MP. The characters who are meant to be representative of false values are really very likable.
I must admit I see it quite the other way round: I think this is the big strength of the book that almost all persons are likeable in some way. Even for Mrs. Norris Jane Austen finds apologizing words or situations where her character shines. It is not a black and white book but the persons are described in all colors between - just like life really is.
I always thought that a modern reader can't understand MP properly because the moral values have changed so much over the time. Many times we are dependent on the opinion of Edmund or Funny to judge a situation. But otherwise I've found somewhere (unfortunately I don't know where anymore, I'm sorry) an overview what the relatives/aquaintances of JA thought about the book. There was much sympathy for the "bad antagonist" Mary and Henry Crawford too.
So or Jane Austen didn't manage to pronounce her moral values that the reader can follow her and dislike the "bad people" (which is very freely put what you said, fantasyfan) or the book was not meant to be a "moral tutorial" and finds understanding for human nature and its failures (what I like to think).