Pride and Prejudice Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice follows the lives of the five Bennet sisters and their parents, especially focusing on the second eldest daughter Elizabeth. Though weary of her mother's desperation to place each of her daughters in good marriages, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Mr. Darcy, a proud and wealthy gentleman who is attracted to Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit. Amidst the drama of their friends' and families' lives, both must overcome preconceived notions and expectations in this story that explores class, love, and social change.

Elizabeth Bennett

Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest daughter in the Bennet family. She is intelligent and quick-witted, and the favorite of her father. Elizabeth is the protagonist of the novel. She is lovely and clever. Her conversations are often spirited. Her wit and honesty allow her to rise above her society. Elizabeth Bennett has a sharp tongue and a tendency to make hasty judgments about people, such as Mr. Darcy and Mr. Whickham. These judgments often land her in trouble and leave her trusting the wrong people. Elizabeth must cope with the poor manners of her mother and younger sisters. Elizabeth Bennett is a charming but proud girl who gradually comes to recognize her mistakes in judgment of character.

Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy is the love interest of Elizabeth Bennet. He owns a great estate, called Pemberley, and is from a very wealthy, high society family. Though Darcy's initial spurning of Elizabeth make him seem proud and disagreeable, but he is eventually revealed as an intelligent and forthright man. Darcy has a tendency to judge a person's character too harshly. His wealth and social connections make him seem proud and haughty. For instance, when Darcy proposes marriage to Elizabeth, he does so with against his better judgment, and reminds her of her inferior social station in life. However, Darcy proves his worth when he negotiates the marriage of Elizabeth's sister Lydia to Mr. Whickham.

Jane Bennett

Jane Bennet is the eldest of the Bennett sisters. She is the love interest of Mr. Bingley, and a great confidant to her sister Elizabeth. Jane is a good woman who refuses to see the bad nature of anyone. She is the perfect compliment to Mr. Bingley. Jane has a gentle nature and is quick to find to good and anyone, even Mr. Whickham. However, Jane's weakness is that she does not openly show her affection for Mr. Bingley.

Mr. Bingley

Mr. Bingley is Mr. Darcy's best friend and his social equal. Mr. Bingley is the love interest of Jane Bennett. He is just as good natured and fun loving as Jane. He is quick to find the good in anyone, and often overlooks the proud and boorish nature of his two sisters, and his friend Mr. Darcy. His weakness is his lack of tenacity, as he is easily talked out of a marriage to Jane by Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bennett

Mr. Bennett is the head of the Bennett estate and the husband of Mr. Bennett. He is the father of the five Bennett daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary. Mr. Bennett is exasperated by his wife's obsession to marry off the daughters. Mr. Bennett considers the actions of his daughters frivolous. He often uses his library and reading as an escape from the women. Mr. Bennett is a detached man who forms only a close relationship with Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, because he thinks her intelligent and witty. Mr. Bennett is a weak father figure, and often makes bad choices concerning his daughters, as when he allows Lydia to travel to Brighton. He proves rather ineffectual in moments of crisis, and relies on others to rescue the honor of his family. Mr. Bennet prefers to stay hidden in his library, away from his family and the rest of the world.

Mrs. Bennett

Mrs. Bennet is the wife of Mr. Bennett and the mother of the five Bennett daughters. She is a shallow woman with poor manners. Because the Bennett estate is entailed away from the female line, Mrs. Bennett feels she must marry off her five daughters, whatever the cost. She is a foolish, frivolous woman, always complaining about her nerves. Mrs. Bennet isn't very intelligent and has no real concern for the moral or intellectual education of her five daughters. Mrs. Bennet's sole obsession is to marry off her daughters, preferably into money.

Mr. Whickham

Mr. Wickham is the rival to Mr. Darcy, and a minor love interest of Elizabeth Bennett. Whickham rebuffs Elizabeth for a rich young woman named Miss King, but eventually runs away with Elizabeth's younger sister, Lydia. Mr. Whickham is a man of low character and morals, and only marries Lydia after negotiating with Mr. Darcy for the payment of his debts and a dowry. He is initially thought by the Bennet's to be a good and amicable man and had the appearance of goodness and virtue. Whickham is stylish and handsome.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Lady Catherine de Bourgh is the aunt of Mr. Darcy, and the benefactor of Mr. Collins. She is a proud woman, both egoistical and very wealthy. It is Lady Catherine's desire that her daughter marry Mr. Darcy; however, her daughter is sickly and uninteresting. Lady Catherine likes remind others of their inferiority; she loves flattery from others and hates to be contradicted. The conversations between Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth are lively and illustrate Elizabeth's strength. Lady Catherine speaks her mind and often displays a manner of incivility, lack of respect and rudeness.

Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins is the cousin of Mr. Bennett and next in line to the Bennett estate. He displays an extraordinary amount of flattery for Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and praises her excessively. Mr. Collins is a pompous and idiotic clergyman and takes great pains to let everyone know that Lady Catherine de Bough is his patroness. Mr. Collins is very much aware of social class and status, and is seen as social climber. He tries to come across as a humble man, but he has a very materialistic outlook to life, which makes him looks incredibly stupid, as he is a man of the church. Mr. Collins lacks a true Christian spirit, and is constantly aware of society and what people think of him. He is married to Charlotte Lucas, a neighbor and friend of Elizabeth Bennett.

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