Pride and Prejudice

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  • Created on: 25-05-17 16:02

Pride and Prejudice Characters

Elizabeth Bennet- The novel’s protagonist, she is second daughter of Mr. Bennet and is the most intelligent and sensible of the five Bennet sisters. She is well read and quick-witted, with a tongue that occasionally proves too sharp for her own good. Her honesty, virtue, and lively wit enable her to rise above the nonsense and bad behavior that pervade her class-bound and often spiteful society. Her realization of Darcy’s essential goodness eventually triumphs over her initial prejudice against him. 

"I'm marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal."

"Not half so handsome as Jane nor half as good humoured as Lydia"

"I dearly love a laugh"

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Fitzwilliam Darcy- The son of a wealthy, well-established family and the master of the great estate of Pemberley, Darcy is Elizabeth's male counterpart. He has a tendency to judge too hastily and harshly, and his high birth and wealth make him overly proud and overly conscious of his social status. Indeed, his haughtiness makes him initially bungle his courtship.

Darcy demonstrates his continued devotion to Elizabeth, in spite of his distaste for her low connections and goes against the wishes of his haughty aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by continuing to pursue Elizabeth. He loves Elizabeth deeply, but struggles with his pride and prejudices to admit the fact and act on it.

He is very well mannered and acts like a gentleman on almost every occasion. But he can be aloof and superior, easily offending people. The offence Darcy often causes to others isn't always intentional. He's naturally shy and reserved, which is mistaken for arrogance. "Not handsome enough to tempt me" is his first impression of Elizabeth.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley- Jane and Bingley engage in a courtship that occupies a central place in the novel. They first meet at the ball in Meryton and enjoy an immediate mutual attraction. They are spoken of as a potential couple throughout the book, long before anyone imagines that Darcy and Elizabeth might marry.

Despite their centrality to the narrative, they are vague characters, sketched by Austen rather than carefully drawn. Indeed, they are so similar in nature and behavior that they can be described together: both are cheerful, friendly, and good-natured, always ready to think the best of others; they lack entirely the prickly egotism of Elizabeth and Darcy. Jane’s gentle spirit serves as a foil for her sister’s fiery, contentious nature, while Bingley’s eager friendliness contrasts with Darcy’s stiff pride.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Their principal characteristics are goodwill and compatibility, and the contrast of their romance with that of Darcy and Elizabeth is remarkable. Jane and Bingley exhibit to the reader true love unhampered by either pride or prejudice, though in their simple goodness, they also demonstrate that such a love is mildly dull.

Bingley is rich but, unlike Darcy, his money comes from his father's business rather than inherited wealth.

It could be argued that he isn't very strong-minded, because he allows Darcy to persuade him to leave Jane.

Their lack of flaws becomes a flaw (ironic)"He is just what a young man ought to be"

"For she has without exception, the sweetest temper I ever met with"

"He could not imagine an angel more beautiful"

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Mr Bennet- He is a man driven to exasperation by his ridiculous wife and difficult daughters. He reacts by withdrawing from his family and assuming a detached attitude punctuated by bursts of sarcastic humor. He is closest to Elizabeth because they are the two most intelligent Bennets.

Initially, his dry wit and self-possession in the face of his wife’s hysteria make him a sympathetic figure, but, though he remains likable throughout, the reader gradually loses respect for him as it becomes clear that the price of his detachment is considerable. Detached from his family, he is a weak father and, at critical moments, fails his family. In particular, his foolish indulgence of Lydia’s immature behavior nearly leads to general disgrace when she elopes with Wickham.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Mrs Bennet- Mrs. Bennet is a miraculously tiresome character. Noisy and foolish, she is a woman consumed by the desire to see her daughters married and seems to care for nothing else in the world. Ironically, her single minded pursuit backfired as her daughters married both Darcy and Bingley.

Austen uses her continually to highlight the necessity of marriage for young women. Mrs. Bennet also serves as a middle-class counterpoint to such upper-class snobs as Lady Catherine and Miss Bingley, demonstrating that foolishness can be found at every level of society.

In the end, however, Mrs. Bennet proves such an unattractive figure, lacking redeeming characteristics of any kind, that some readers have accused Austen of unfairness in portraying her- as if Austen, like Mr Bennet took perverse pleasure in poking fun at a woman already scorned as a result of her ill breeding.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Mr Collins- Collins is best described by Elizabeth, as "conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly". As a man of the church, he seems more concerned with his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, than God. He's always overly formal in his speech and manner, both in person and letters and this makes him look ridiculous.

Although he pretends to be humble, he's self-opinionated (unless Lady Catherine is present) and not very intelligent. Collins is very superficial (he lacks true 'depth' or genuine emotion), demonstrated when he proposed to both Elizabeth and Charlotte within a week of each other. He's not particularly Christian in his actions (he advises Mr Bennet to forgive Lydia but disown her).

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Fitzwilliam Darcy- "the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world"

"He drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report of having ... ten thousand a year".

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

George Wickham- He has the appearanvce and speech to charm any young woman, "he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and a very pleasing address"

He uses these assets to lie to people and deceive them (including Elizabeth). "Elizabeth thought with pleasure of dancing a great deal with Wickham". Wickham's a selfish layabout who, after spending a lot of money given to him by Darcy, tries to elope with Darcy's 15-year-old sister, Georgiana, to get more money.He successfully elopes with Lydia Bennett (only 16), again to get money.

Wickham seems to have no feelings for anyone but himself (this includes Lydia, who becomes his wife) and he can be seen as the opposite of Darcy.

"Wickham's affection for Lydia, was just what Elizabeth had expected to find it; not equal to Lydia's for him".

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Charlotte Lucas- She is a plain sensible women, who is 27 years old and still not married. Charlotte is Elizabeth's friend and her role is to create the antithesis of Elizabeth's view of marriage, unromantic. She believes in "happiness in marriage is a matter of chance". Their friendship is severely tested when she accepts Colin's proposal a few days after him proposing to Elizabeth.

"I am not romantic you know, I never was. I ask only a comfortable home".

Lydia Bennet- She is the youngest of the Bennet sisters and her main importance is the theme of marriage, which appears lightly to her. She ignores Wickham's social position, unlike Charlotte Lucas. Lydia is presented as loud, assertive and impolite.

She is important in the novel because her bad behaviour damages the reputation of Jane and Elizabeth. Lydia's letter describing her marriage is a "good joke". "Tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once"

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Lady Catherine De Bourgh- She is Colin's patron and Darcy's aunt. She tries to persuade Elizabeth to refuse Darcy's proposal because of Elizabeth's social inferior rank.

She's the person with the highest social standing and Austen develops her character to reflect the very worst attitudes of the upper classes. Lady Catherine's a bully who's full of her own self-importance, which isn't based on anything she's achieved, simply her inherited wealth and social standing. She's very rude and insensitive. Lady Catherine expects to be obeyed at all times. She reacts with a lack of understanding when this doesn't happen (for example, when she tries to intimidate Elizabeth and get her to refuse Darcy). Her overbearing nature has made her daughter weak and timid. She offers a contrast to Darcy in how the upper classes behave.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Lady Catherine De Bourgh- She is Colin's patron and Darcy's aunt. She tries to persuade Elizabeth to refuse Darcy's proposal because of Elizabeth's social inferior rank.

She's the person with the highest social standing and Austen develops her character to reflect the very worst attitudes of the upper classes. Lady Catherine's a bully who's full of her own self-importance, which isn't based on anything she's achieved, simply her inherited wealth and social standing. She's very rude and insensitive. Lady Catherine expects to be obeyed at all times. She reacts with a lack of understanding when this doesn't happen (for example, when she tries to intimidate Elizabeth and get her to refuse Darcy). Her overbearing nature has made her daughter weak and timid. She offers a contrast to Darcy in how the upper classes behave.

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Pride and Prejudice Characters

Lady Catherine De Bourgh- She is Colin's patron and Darcy's aunt. She tries to persuade Elizabeth to refuse Darcy's proposal because of Elizabeth's social inferior rank.

She's the person with the highest social standing and Austen develops her character to reflect the very worst attitudes of the upper classes. Lady Catherine's a bully who's full of her own self-importance, which isn't based on anything she's achieved, simply her inherited wealth and social standing. She's very rude and insensitive. Lady Catherine expects to be obeyed at all times. She reacts with a lack of understanding when this doesn't happen (for example, when she tries to intimidate Elizabeth and get her to refuse Darcy). Her overbearing nature has made her daughter weak and timid. She offers a contrast to Darcy in how the upper classes behave.

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