Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics)
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Pride and Prejudice Characters

by Jane Austen

Character List

Elizabeth

The novel's protagonist and the second oldest of five sisters, Elizabeth Bennet is lively, quick-witted, sharp-tongued, bold and intelligent. Though marked in many ways by her perceptiveness, Elizabeth's pride in that very ability engenders a prejudice that almost hinders her happy future with Darcy. While concerned with propriety, good-manners, and virtue, Elizabeth is not impressed by mere wealth or titles.

Darcy

An extremely wealthy aristocrat, Mr. Darcy is proud, haughty and extremely conscious of class differences (at least at the beginning of the novel). He does, however, have a strong sense of honor and virtue, and a degree of fairness that helps him to control his pride and prejudice after Elizabeth rebukes him for those qualities.

Jane

Jane Bennet, the oldest Bennet daughter, is beautiful, good-tempered, sweet, amiable, humble and selfless. Her good nature does cause a certain naiveté, especially concerning the poor characters of others, which leads her to be hurt by insincere friends like Caroline Bingley. A rather static character, Jane remains a model of virtue throughout the novel.

Bingley

Much like his beloved Jane, Charles Bingley is an amiable and good-tempered person, mostly unconcerned with class differences despite his extraordinary wealth. His virtue proves his vice at times, since his modesty makes him easily swayed by the opinions of others. A mostly static character, Bingley remains pleasant and in love with Jane throughout the novel.

Wickham

An officer in the regiment stationed at Meryton, Officer Wickham possesses a charm that hides his dissolute, untrustworthy personality. Having been raised as godson to Darcy's father, Wickham has betrayed Darcy in the past by seducing Georgiana, and spreads rumors about the man throughout the Bennet family and the surrounding community. Overall, Wickham is clearly concerned solely with his own self-interest, as his many romantic engagements (or lack thereof, in the case of Elizabeth) reveal.

Mrs. Bennet

Mrs. Bennet is a foolish and frivolous woman. Lacking all sense of propriety, she cares little for the moral of intellectual education of her daughters, and is concerned solely with securing them profitable marriages. Her impropriety constantly shames Elizabeth, and has encouraged Mr. Bennet to basically abstain from any surplus involvement with his family.

Mr. Bennet

An intelligent man with good sense, Mr. Bennet is nevertheless marked by an unfortunate disinterest in most of his family. Outside of Elizabeth, he seems unconcerned with how they fare, a likely reaction to having married a woman as interminable as Mrs. Bennet. His complacency is shaken only when Lydia's future is threatened by her poor decisions in Brighton.

Lydia

The youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia Bennet is foolish and flirtatious, given up to indolence and the gratification of every whim. She is Mrs. Bennet's favorite daughter, as they share such a similar frivolity. Obsessed with the regiment officers, Lydia lets her lack of virtue and propriety lead her into a near-disaster with Wickham.

Kitty

Catherine "Kitty" Bennet, the second youngest Bennet daughter, exhibits little personality of her own. Instead, she imitates Lydia in almost everything, until Lydia leaves alone for Brighton. We are led to hope that Kitty's character will improve without Lydia around to influence her.

Mary

The third oldest of the Bennet sisters, Mary Bennet is strangely solemn and pedantic. She dislikes going out into society, and prefers to spend her time studying. In conversation, Mary constantly aims for profound observations about human nature and life in general. (Some critics believe Mary was a cipher for Austen herself.)

Mr. Collins

The cousin of the Bennets to whom Longbourn has been entailed, Mr. Collins is mostly a comic character because of his mix of obsequiousness and pride, and the tiresome formalities he uses on every occasion. Even after he marries Charlotte Lucas, Mr. Collins remains entrenched in his obnoxiousness.

Charlotte

Elizabeth's best friend before she marries Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lucas is daughter to Sir William and neighbor to the Bennets. Her attitudes on marriage - as a pragmatic transaction rather than as a romantic attachment - stand in stark contrast to Elizabeth's.

Sir William

A pleasant but not overly deep or intellectual man, Sir William Lucas is a friend and neighbor of the Bennet family. He is obsessed with having been granted knighthood. He is father to Charlotte Lucas.

Maria

Charlotte's younger sister, Maria Lucas is as empty-headed as her father is. She is never featured in the novel outside of her trip with Sir William and Elizabeth to visit Charlotte.

Mrs. Gardiner

An intelligent, caring and sensible woman, Elizabeth's aunt Mrs. Gardiner acts as a mother figure to Elizabeth and Jane, compensating for Mrs. Bennet's inadequacy in this regard. Austen uses her and her husband as a means to explore the value of personality over mere class distinction.

Mr. Gardiner

Elizabeth's uncle Mr. Gardiner is a merchant, and an upright and intelligent man. Though in a lower social class than even the Bennets are, he distinguishes himself and impresses even Darcy with his behavior. Austen uses him and his wife as a means to explore the value of personality over mere class distinction.

Caroline

A superficial and selfish girl, Caroline Bingley is Bingley's youngest sister. She possesses all of Darcy's class prejudice, but none of his honor and virtue. Throughout the novel, she panders to Darcy in an attempt to win his affections, to no avail. Her cruelty towards Jane marks her as a generally unpleasant character throughout.

Mrs. Hurst

Bingley's elder sister, Mrs. Hurst is equally snobbish to Caroline, though involved less in the relationship with Jane. She seems to have no real affection or esteem for her husband.

Mr. Hurst

An indolent man, Mr. Hurst does almost nothing but eat and entertain himself by playing cards. He never says an intelligent word in the entire novel, and seems to be solely concerned with the quality of the food.

Georgiana

Darcy's sister Georgiana, ten years his junior, is quiet and shy but amiable and good-natured. She has great reverence and affection for her brother, and gets along well with Elizabeth from their first meeting. Bingley's sisters had hoped that Bingley would marry Georgiana, thus uniting the fortunes of the two families.

Lady Catherine

Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy's aristocratic aunt and Mr. Collins's patroness, is a nasty woman obsessed with flaunting her wealth and social superiority. She advises people without solicitation on every aspect of their lives, and suffers only flattery.

Miss de Bourgh

Lady Catherine's daughter, Miss de Bourgh is a frail, weak and sickly child who is overly pampered by her mother. She speaks little in the novel, but seems to be generally good-natured. Lady Catherine had wanted Darcy to marry Miss de Bourgh.

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Mr. Darcy's cousin who visit Lady Catherine with him, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a pleasant and amiable gentleman who showed an interest in Elizabeth, but then confessed he could only marry someone with a large fortune because of his status as a second son.

Mrs. Phillips

Mrs. Phillips is Mrs. Bennet's sister, and shares her sister's foolishness and frivolity. She lives in Meryton, and facilitates Lydia and Kitty's obsession with the officers there.

Mrs. Forster

Mrs. Forster, wife to Colonel Forster, invites Lydia to Brighton with them, which enables the near-disaster with Wickham. Her frivolous nature is implied by her fellowship with Lydia.

Colonel Forster

A good-natured and basically responsible man, Colonel Forster is the regiment leader who allows his wife to bring Lydia to Brighton. After the elopement, he helps Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet to the best of his ability.

Miss Younge

Miss Younge was Georgiana Darcy's governess at the time that Wickham seduced the young girl. Miss Younge was crucial towards facilitating that wickedness. She never features directly in the novel, but does later help Darcy find where Wickham is living with Lydia.

Mrs. Lucas

Mrs. Lucas is married to Sir William, and mother to Charlotte and Maria. A neighbor of the Bennets, she is often taunted by Mrs. Bennet with gossip about the potential marriage success of the Bennet girls.

Mr. Denny

A soldier in the regiment, Mr. Denny the man who introduces the Bennet girls to Wickham.

Miss King

Miss King is a woman in Meryton who is pursued romantically by Wickham after she inherits a sum of money, thus distracting Wickham's attentions from Elizabeth.

Mrs. Jenkinson

Mrs. Jenkinson is the companion to Miss de Bough. She pampers the young girl.

Pemberley housekeeper

In touring Elizabeth and the Gardiners around the estate, the Pemberley housekeeper impresses Elizabeth with her praise of Darcy.

Mrs. Annesley

Mrs. Annesley is companion to Georgiana when she visits Pemberley. She shows great civility towards Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner when they visit, and Bingley's sisters are rude to them.

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