The Characters of Pride & Prejudice

Mr. Bennet

Mr. Bennet

Delights in teasing his silly wife and staying staying out of her plans of marriage for their five daughters. He "was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character."

His house and land Longbourn are entailed to his cousin Mr. Collins, leaving his daughters without a penny on his death.

Mrs. Bennet

Mrs. Bennet

His wife " was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news."

When two rich unmarried men come into the neighborhood her mind jumps instantly to deciding what her daughter will wear on their wedding days!

Jane Bennet

Jane Bennet

The oldest of Mr. & Mrs. daughters "is said to be the most beautiful with the sweetest temper." She is the intimate friend of her younger sister Lizzie who comments "You never see a fault in anyody. All the world are good and agreeable in you eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life."

The prettiest, sweetest, young woman in Meryton can not help drawing the notice of a friendly, sensible man looking for a wife. And if that young man happens to also be handsome and rich what plans must a scheming mother make?

Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet

Lizzie is the second oldest daughter and a favorite of her father. "They are all silly and ignorant, like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."

When she is snubbed at a ball by the rich and proud Mr. Darcy she can't help laughing at him for "she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous."

Though she is poor, Lizzie desires above all to marry for love, not for money.

This, combined with her good-humored, sensible nature makes her unlike the other money-seeking young women Mr. Darcy has met with.

"But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, then he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes."

But though she is sensible that does not make her first impressions of people always right especially when one young man is determined to please and another determined to cause dislike.

Mary Bennet

Mary Bennet

The middle sister, " in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, was always impatient for display. Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she had reached."

She is fairly quite and loves to read: " ' What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts.' Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how."

She is sensible enough and not always at a loss for words, though she seems to express herself at the wrong moments!

"Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable -- that one false step involves her in endless ruin -- that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful -- and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex."

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet

Kitty is the fourth oldest of the Bennet sisters and a little bit dense: "What is the matter, mama? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do?"

She is the close friend and confidant of her younger sister Lydia: "In this danger Kitty is also comprehended. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled!"

But "She was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia: and, removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid."

Lydia Bennet

Lydia Bennet

The youngest of the Bennet girls "was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age. She had high animal spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence, which the attentions of the officers, to whom her uncle's good dinners and her own easy manners recommended her, had increased into assurance."

Lydia is in love with the idea of being in love and Elizabeth is afraid she is "in danger of becoming a flirt in the worst and meanest degree of flirtation."

So what would she do if a young military officer showed her more particular attentions? "Oh!" said Lydia stoutly, "I am not afraid; for though I am the youngest, I'm the tallest."

Mr. Bingley

Mr. Charles Bingley

Mr. Bingley is to rent Netherfield Park and his neighbors soon find him " good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners."

His manners recommend him to the assembly at the Meryton ball. He "had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early".

He soon find Jane Bennet to be the loveliest creature in the room and she later confides to Lizzie: "He is just wht a young man ought to be, sensible, good-humoured, lively, and I never saw such happy manners! - so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!"

With beginnings such as these, can the two help but fall in love?

Miss Bingley

Miss Caroline Bingley

The younger of Mr. Bingley's two sisters who has come to Netherfield as housekeeper for her brother.

She does not give a very favorable first impression to the Meryton assembly, for her " behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general;"

But "They were in fact very fine ladies, not deficient in good humour when they were pleased, nor in the power of being agreeable where they chose it; but proud and conceited."

Elizabeth soon sees through her however "with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgment, too, unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them."

Miss Bingley is trying to get Mr. Darcy to notice her and she often teases him.

But he also sees through her scheming ways and remarks: " 'there is meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.' Miss Bingley was not so entirely satisfied with this reply as to continue the subject."

Mrs. Hurst

Mrs. Louisa Hurst

Mr. Bingley's married sister who is quite like his other sister.

"They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank; and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable family in the north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories than that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade."

Mr. Hurst

Mr. Hurst

The husband of Mrs. Hurst, "he was an indolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards, who, when he found her prefer a plain dish to a ragout, had nothing to say to her ."

"Mr. Hurst looked at her with astonishment. " 'Do you prefer reading to cards?' said he; ' that is rather singular.' "

"Mr. Hurst called them to order, with bitter complaints of their inattention to what was going forward."

Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy

The intimate friend of Mr. Bingley "soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend."

Elizabeth is not disposed to like Mr. Darcy and is quite surprised to have this account of him from his old housekeeper. " 'He is the best landlord and the best master that ever lived. Not like the wild young men now-a-days who think only of themselves. Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw anything of it.' "

What is the truth of it all?

Mr. Wickham

Mr. George Wickham

A young army officer whom Elizabeth is drawn to "His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty -- a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address."

She is also drawn to by his compelling story of how badly Mr. Darcy has treated him. "The vicious propensities -- the want of principle, which he was careful to guard from the knowledge of his best friend, could not escape the observation of a young man of nearly the same age with himself, and who had opportunities of seeing him in unguarded moments, which Mr. Darcy could not have."

Time will tell weather the finer character wins out against the finer heart.

Sir William Lucas

Sir William Lucas

A neighbor of the Bennets who's knighthood "had given him a disgust to his business and to his residence in a small market town; and quitting them both, he had removed with his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, ... where he could think with pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in being civil to all the world".

Charlotte Lucas

Charlotte Lucas

Sir William's daughter "The eldest of them, a sensible, intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven, was Elizabeth's intimate friend."

As the eldest daughter of a large family she hopes to make her fortune through marriage. "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." And she believes "it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

Her chances of marriage are slim though " 'She seems a very pleasant young woman,' 'Oh! dear, yes; -- but you must own she is very plain' "

Despite her plain sensible ways she addressed by the stupidest man imaginable. Lizzie thinks her out of her mind to accept him but Jane says "Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's prudent, steady character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin."

Maria Lucas

Maria Lucas

Charlotte's younger sister a favorite with Kitty and Lydia which means she must be "a good humoured girl, but as empty-headed" as her friends!

Mrs. Bennet remarks: "But everybody is to judge for themselves, and the Lucases are very good sort of girls, I assure you. It is a pity they are not handsome!"

Mr. Collins

Mr. William Collins

The cousin of Mr. Bennet and the heir to his estate. "He was a tall, heavy looking young man of five and twenty. His air was grave and stately, and his manners were very formal"

Rather long winded clergyman, he "was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society;" "A fortunate chance had recommended him to Lady Catherine de Bourgh when the living of Hunsford was vacant; and the respect which he felt for her high rank and his veneration for her as his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his rights as a rector, made him altogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance and humility."

He comes to Longbourn with the express purpose of proposing marriage to one or other of his fair cousins and in that way making amends for their fortune being entailed to him He quickly settles on Jane…no Lizzie and offer her the outstretched olive branch.

Mr. Gardiner

Mr. Edward Gardiner

Mrs. Bennet's brother "was a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior to his sister, as well by nature as education. whose manners were easy and pleasant."

Mr. Gardiner was a lawyer and lived in cheepside, to the horror of Mr. Bingley's sister. Though he and his wife are Elizabeth's low connections they are much more pleasant than any Mr. Darcy has to offer.

Mrs. Gardiner

Mrs. Gardiner

His wife "was an amiable, intelligent, elegant woman, and a great favourite with all her Longbourn nieces."

She gives very good advice, is kind and motherly. She grew up not five miles from Pemberley, the estate of Mr. Darcy and the childhood home of Mr. Wickham. Who knows what unexpected young men you may find roaming around that place!

Lady Catherine

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Mr. Collins esteemed patroness and curiously Mr. Darcy's aunt.

She "was a tall, large woman, with strongly-marked features, which might once have been handsome. Her air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of receiving them such as to make her visitors forget their inferior rank. She was not rendered formidable by silence; but whatever she said was spoken in so authoritative a tone as marked her self-importance"

She is famous for her "minute advice on how other people should run their lives"

Such as her advise to her nephew that he should marry her daughter Anne and should not think of connecting himself with a young woman of low rank.

Anne DeBourgh

Miss Anne de Bourgh

Lady Catherine's daughter and cousin of Mr. Darcy.

Elizabeth "could almost have joined in Maria's astonishment at her being so thin, and so small. There was neither in figure nor face any likeness between the ladies. Miss De Bourgh was pale and sickly; her features, though not plain, were insignificant; and she spoke very little, except in a low voice to Mrs. Jenkinson, in whose appearance there was nothing remarkable, and who was entirely engaged in listening to what she said, and placing a screen in the proper direction before her eyes."

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Another nephew of Lady Catherine and cousin to Mr. Darcy.

"Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman."

Elizabeth finds his manners much different than his cousins for with her he "entered into conversation directly with the readiness and ease of a well-bred man, and talked very pleasantly"

Too bad he's the youngest son and rather in want of money.

Georgiana Darcy

Miss Georgiana Darcy

Mr. Darcy's younger sister and ward "was tall, and on a larger scale than Elizabeth; and, though little more than sixteen, her figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. She was less handsome than her brother, but there was sense and good humour in her face, and her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle. Elizabeth, who had expected to find in her as acute and unembarrassed an observer as ever Mr. Darcy had been, was much relieved by discerning such different feelings."

Elizabeth "Since her being at Lambton, had heard that Miss Darcy was exceedingly proud; but the observation of a very few minutes convinced her that she was only exceedingly shy. She found it difficult to obtain even a word from her beyond a monosyllable."


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