Character Analysis of Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

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In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen describes Mrs. Bennet as a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. Her preoccupation with her daughters marriages, multifaceted disposition, and gossip ability distinguish her as the typical woman of her time.

The principal objective of Mrs. Bennet s life is to get her daughters married and she pursues it through deceptive contrivance. When Jane is invited to dinner at the Bingley s, she advises her, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must stay all night (pg.21). She shows a lack of concern for Jane s health and safety by making her ride on horseback in the rain. With this advice she places a higher priority on marriage than her daughters. Through her eyes, marriage is seen as business. That is why she gets very upset when Elizabeth declines Mr. Collins proposal to marry him. She says, Oh! Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately; we are all in an uproar. You must come and make Lizzy marry Mr. Collins, for she vows she will not have him, and if you do not make haste he will change his mind and not have her (pg.82). Even though Elizabeth and Mr. Collins are only acquainted for a few days, she expects them to get married. This senseless expectation shows her lack of care for Elizabeth s feelings.

Mrs. Bennet s personality manifolds with each situation. Her shallowness attributes to her passing judgement on prospective husbands by their income and status. Referring to Mr. Bingley, a man whom she has never encountered before, she describes him as a single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls! (pg. 1). She places no importance towards his personality. She is known to contradict herself. In the beginning of the book, she criticizes her husband for favoring Elizabeth over the other children. Yet, it is obvious that she favors Jane over all of the children. When Bingley visits them she rushes Sara to come to Miss Bennet this moment, and help her on with her gown. Never mind Lizzy s hair (pg. 249). She does not care about how Elizabeth looks because she is the least dear to her of all her children. Besides her hypocrisies, her attitude and views towards certain people constantly change. She apologizes to Elizabeth for having dislike him [Darcy] so much before (pg. 275). Her apology is made after finding out that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged. Evidently, she has no reason to dislike him, and is quick to fluctuate her views.

The ability to take credit is attributed to her selfishness and excessive pride. She actually claims credit for Jane and Bingley s engagement. She tells Jane, I remember, as soon as ever I saw him, when he first came into Hertfordshire last year, I thought how likely it was that you should come together (pg. ???). In reality, it was Lydia whom she thought would be the one. She also positions herself as a victim: People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! (pg. 84). Her irrational statement is a contradiction because she compares herself with a person who has no proclivity for talking when she does. A lack of compassion for Jane reveals her self-indulgence. Her self-regard places her comfort over that of her daughters. In a conversation with Elizabeth, she coldly says, Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry for what he has done (pg. 166). Even though Jane is her dearest child, she still shows a lack of compassion towards her emotions. This attributes to her selfishness and concern for only her comfort.

The propensity towards gossip is an example of the habits of women of Jane Austen s time. Mrs. Bennet talks about the Collins And so, I suppose they often talk of having Longbourn when your father is dead. They look upon it quite as their own, I dare say, whenever that happens. In response to Elizabeth s question she replies, No. It would have been strange if they had. But I make no doubt, they often talk of it between themselves (pg.166). This conjecture is made with no evidence or credibility. She speaks about it as though she heard it first-hand, but in actuality, she is only assuming. She speaks through jealousy and attacks Charlotte Lucas s character only because of her engagement to Mr. Collins and her entailment to the Bennet s estate.

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Character Analysis of Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. (2023, May 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/character-analysis-of-mrs-bennet-in-jane-austens-pride-and-prejudice/

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