Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy

Supposing that Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy are still friends, will this change have a great impact on the novel?

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Mr. Wickham

Character Analysis

A seemingly perfect gentleman from a poor family, Wickham turns out to be the Bennet family's worst nightmare.

Pride and Prejudice has a lot of compare-and-contrast pairs, if you're into that sort of thing. One of the main ones is Darcy versus Wickham, although it's not much of a contest since "Wickham" sounds so close to the word "wicked" that Austen gives half the game away the first time we meet this jerk.

Still, if Darcy's deal is learning to be a gentleman on the outside and not just the inside, then Wickham is basically the total reverse of that. He is super-charming, really good looking, great to be with, and generally delightful to all the senses. Everyone in Meryton is fooled, and Elizabeth even thinks about him in a marriageable kind of way. In reality, though? Boy, is he awful. When we get to the reveal, it's crazy how many terrible skeletons are hanging in Wickham's closet. Financial chicanery? Check. Character assassination of his closest friends and allies? Check. Attempted seduction of one underage girl? Check. Successful seduction of another one? Followed by some heavy-duty extortion to agree to marry her? Indeed.


A friendship between these two men would have made for some interesting moments, but it also would have robbed us of the conflict between them. I believe it would have changed things immensely but probably not for the better.