Mr. Bennet Although he is an intelligent man and displays a good sense of judgment throughout the novel, such as showing disapproval of Elizabeth marrying Mr. Collins, he also appears to be quite physically detached from the world. While other characters are busy visiting neighbours or going on trips, he is rarely seen outside his library and does not really interact with members of his family that much. Therefore he is also quite emotionally detached from them, as he appears to want nothing more than to be bothered as little as possible by his family.
He is quite lazy and apathetic when it comes to dealing with other’s problems and teaching his daughter lessons in life and although his ridicule of people and their problems is amusing, one cannot help but look at his failed responsibilities as a Father. Even when Elizabeth warns him not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton because of the moral danger of the situation, he does not listen to her because he does not want to be bothered with Lydia’s complaints. Mrs. Bennet From the very first page in the book, it is obvious that Mrs.
Bennet’s main goal in life is to marry off all her daughters, preferably to rich and well-known men. From a modern perspective, this sounds incredibly extreme, however in early 19th century England, most women with daughters shared this view regarding the ‘marriage-market’, although probably not as enthusiastically. Having said that, this means the majority of the time, Mrs. Bennet lacks propriety and virtue, showing no concern for the moral or intellectual education of her daughters.
This is shown through her joyful reaction to Lydia’s marriage, as she does not see the full picture, such as her daughter’s shameful conduct, how young she is or the worry she has caused her family, but that she has succeeded in marrying one daughter off. It is also quite ironic that her foolish and frivolous personality is the biggest threat to her daughters marrying well, as Mr. Darcy initially shows a certain dislike towards the Bennet family because of her. Elizabeth Bennet Elizabeth is very much the protagonist of the novel and is also the second eldest of five sisters.
Throughout the novel, whether it be at home or at a social function, Elizabeth continuously shows off her lively, quick-witted, sharp-tongued, bold and intelligent nature, which is perhaps what enabled her to capture Mr. Darcy’s heart, as very few women had a personality like that of Elizabeth’s. In terms of her appearance, although Jane is described to be the prettiest, Elizabeth is also good looking and is especially distinguished by her fine eyes. Having said that, Elizabeth is not entirely perfect.
Although she has pride in her abilities to perceive what is true and people’s characters, her perceptive ability is shown to fail her numerous times throughout the book. An example of this is her choice to believe Mr. Wickham over Mr. Darcy without getting the story for both sides, which shows that she can also be quite hot-headed and rash in her decisions. Unlike most single women’s attitudes towards marriage at the time, Elizabeth was more concerned about propriety, good-manners and virtue when it came to her future husband, not wealth or titles as her biggest fear was entering a loveless marriage.
Jane Bennet Jane is the eldest in the family and is often described as beautiful, good-tempered, sweet, amiable, humble and selfless. Personality wise and despite their close relationship, Jane is quite the opposite of Elizabeth and is universally well-liked, refusing to stir up conflict with anyone. Following this trait, she refuses to judge anyone in a bad light and is always creating excuses for the people Elizabeth complains about, such as Mr. Darcy.
Although one can say this means she is living life through rose-coloured glasses, in the end her judgements of people do turn out to be more accurate that that of Elizabeth. Having said that however, her soft and kind nature makes her vulnerable to be hurt and deceived by insincere friends such as Caroline Bingley. Unlike Elizabeth who develops as a character because she now learns now to judge people in such a rash manner, Jane is a ‘model character’ in the sense that she was created with so much virtue that there is no room for her to develop in the novel.
Kitty Bennet Although older than Lydia, Kitty seems to have trouble finding a personality of her own, instead choosing to act as a shadow to Lydia, following her lead in whatever she does. Therefore, she feels incredibly left out when Lydia gets married and become a ‘grown woman’ while she still has to stay at home with the family. However, the ending of the novel does give the impression that Lydia’s character will improve after being removed from the care of Lydia and her mother to being taken care of by Jane and Elizabeth. Lydia Bennet
Lydia is the youngest of the Bennet sisters and is also the most foolish and flirtatious out of all five sisters. Although Mrs. Bennet quite favours Jane because of the value her beauty gives her when it comes to the ‘marriage-market’, in many ways Lydia is her favourite because they have such similar characters when it comes to potential husbands and their obsession with marriage. Following this, Lydia is shown to be constantly obsessed with the officers in the regiment, and sees no purpose to life beyond entertainment and diversion.
She lacks any sense of virtue, propriety or good-judgment, as seen in her elopement with Wickham and her complete lack of remorse afterward. Mary Bennet The third eldest of the Bennet sisters, in comparison to them, Mary is incredibly serious, solemn and pedantic when it comes to anything in life. Like her Father, she dislikes going out into society and prefers to spend her time studying. Her ability to carry to normal and humourous conversation is non-existent as she is constantly moralizing or trying to make observations about her surroundings and human nature in general.
Despite her introverted personality however, she does not pass up the chance to show off her musical skills at social functions. Wickham From the very first time he is introduced in the novel, he comes across as very charming and well spoken. Therefore he is very charismatic and I think he uses this charisma to get people to warm up to him, to gain their trust and belief that he only has good intentions. This works quite well for him, as he was able to convince even the extremely perceptive Elizabeth that Darcy had apparently done all those bad things.
In general, his behavior throughout the novel shows him to be a gambler who has no guilt about running up his debts and then running away. He also has quite a mercenary nature towards women, like when he is suddenly interested in Miss King. He also seems to like young girls, choosing to pursue Lydia (but perhaps hoping he would gain something financially). He is actually very similar to Elizabeth in that he possesses an ability to read people; however, he uses this knowledge to his advantage. When he finds that Elizabeth dislikes Darcy, for example, he capitalizes on her dislike to gain her sympathies.
Mr Collins As the future heir of Longbourn, Mr Collins is a clergyman with an extremely comical personality filled with pride. This is really reflected in his what he says throughout the novel as it can be seen that Mr. Collins is fond of making long and silly speeches and stating formalities that have absolutely no meaning and does not really make sense. I think this shows that for Mr. Collins, speech is not a means to communicate truth but a means to say what he thinks the people around him want to hear or what will make the people around him think well of him hence he is very sycophantic.
Following this he tries to be particularly witty and clever when he is around Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He can also be very arrogant, for examples when he is proposing to Elizabeth he talks about what an advantage it would be for her if she did and automatically expected her to say ‘yes’. Mr Bingley Mr. Bingley is actually very similar to Jane, in that he too is an amiable and good-tempered person. Despite his wealth, he is not overly concerned with class differences, and Jane’s poor family connections are not a serious deterrent to his attachment to her.
Bingley is very modest and easily swayed by the advice of his friends, as seen in his decision not to propose to Jane as a result of Darcy’s belief that Jane is not really attached to him. This also shows aspects of his mental weakness as opposed to Darcy. Also like Jane, Bingley lacks serious character faults and is thus static and positive throughout the novel. His character and his love for Jane remain constant; the only thing that changes is the advice of Darcy, which leads him not to propose to Jane in the beginning of the novel but to propose to her in the end.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh Lady Catherine is extremely wealthy and likes to let others know of their inferiority to her. She loves to give people advice about how to conduct their lives down to the minutest details, loves to hear flattery from others and hates to be contradicted. Extremely conscious of class differences, she attempts to prevent Darcy from marrying Elizabeth but actually unwittingly gives him the courage to propose a second time. By also paying a visit to Elizabeth and telling her that she is not good enough, she also provokes her to accept Darcy and his proposal.
Darcy An extremely wealthy aristocrat, Darcy is proud, arrogant and extremely conscious of class differences at the beginning of the novel. In saying that, he does, however, have a strong sense of honor and virtue. At first, he shows no interest towards Elizabeth, but after taking notice of her witty and strong headed nature, something he has not seen in any woman before, he takes an interest in her which eventually leads him to profess his love.
Elizabeth’s rejects after his first proposal to her help him to recognize his faults of pride and social prejudice. It is, in fact, precisely because Elizabeth is not so awed by his high social status as to be afraid to criticize his character that he is attracted to her. The self-knowledge acquired from Elizabeth’s rebukes and the desire to win Elizabeth’s love causes him to change and judge people more by their character than by their social class.