Pride and Prejudice Important Characters

Elizabeth Bennet

The second eldest of the Bennet daughters and the most outspoken, Elizabeth is the novel's protagonist. Her chief fault in the novel is that she fancies her self a good judge of character, which causes her to incorrectly judge both George Wickham and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Additionally, she defies some of the societal expectations for woman in Regency England, having made up her mind to marry only for love and to disregard marrying for the sake of convenience. Her development is a hallmark of the novel. Through Darcy, she realizes the extent of her own prejudices and is ultimately able to achieve happiness by marrying him.

Fitzwilliam Darcy

Often simply referred to as Mr. Darcy in the novel, this character is very much a counterpart to Elizabeth Bennet, as he is the pride to her prejudice. Because of a combination of his wealth and cold demeanor, Darcy is perceived by many people as snobbish. However, he is actually often overly proud, especially toward Elizabeth at first when he considers his proposal toward her to be beneath him. However, just as Elizabeth develops in the novel, so does Darcy. He realizes the error of his proud ways and is able to show Elizabeth his true nature through the selfless act of saving her family from ruin.

Jane Bennet

The eldest and sweetest of the Bennet sisters, Jane finds herself romantically interested in her new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, at the beginning of the novel. However, she later finds herself heartbroken because Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy convince Mr. Bingley to leave Netherfield. On Darcy's part, the concern is that she has been too nonchalant about her interest in Bingley. However, those who know her-like Elizabeth-know that this is actually just because of her reserved nature. Later, Darcy helps to resolve her estrangement with Bingley, and Jane and Bingley marry.

Mrs. Bennet:

Mrs. Bennet is the overbearing mother of four daughters. As the narrator tells us in the beginning of the novel, the business of her life is getting her daughters married. This may seem petty; however, marriage was the only means of financial stability for women in Austen's age. Mrs. Bennet is concerned that, after the death of her husband, her daughters will be left in destitution. Thus, she is obsessed with finding them suitable husbands. While her intentions may make her actions seem justifiable, her daughters – especially Elizabeth-and others outside the family sometimes find her to be socially awkward and embarrassing.

Mr. Bennet

As the father of the Bennet girls, Mr. Bennet has some shortcomings. Though he clearly cares for his daughters, especially Elizabeth, he is distant. He prefers to spend most of his time hiding from his daughters in his library and seems to take no real concern in their marriage. His lax parenting may be in part to blame for Lydia's bad behavior.

Lydia Bennet

Lydia is the youngest of the Bennet daughters and the wildest. Her immaturity and irresponsibility is only encouraged by her mother. With little consideration for the well-being of her family, Lydia runs away with George Wickham, an act that could have ruined any future prospects for her sister's marriage.

Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins, a cousin of the Bennets, is set to inherit the Bennet estate when Mr. Bennet passes away. He visits the Bennets with the intention of marrying on of the daughters to "make things right." Though he proposes to Elizabeth, she refuses. When this happens, he proposes to Charlotte Lucas in a matter of only three days. He is a man obsessed with appearance and his benefactor, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Charlotte Lucas:

A close friend of Elizabeth Bennet, Charlotte Lucas serves as something of a foil to her. Early in the novel, Charlotte and Elizabeth compare notes about marriage. Charlotte believes that happiness in marriage is basically a matter of luck, whereas Elizabeth believes in marriage for love. Charlotte's attitude toward love becomes a reality when she marries the ridiculous Mr. Collins.

George Wickham

Quite the charmer, Wickham finds friends wherever he goes. It is this exact attribute that fools Elizabeth Bennet initially. However, as the novel progresses, Darcy reveals that Wickham is something of a fraud; instead a charming, destitute man he is actual a liar, a gambler, and a completely dishonest man.

Mr. Bingley

Mr. Bingley, the affable new neighbor to the Bennets, almost immediately wins Jane's favor. However, Bingley is easily swayed by his sister and Darcy, and abandons Jane because he believes she is indifferent to him. He later returns, however, and proposes to Jane, thanks to encouragement from Darcy.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

The patroness of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine is an opinionated, proud, and snobbish noblewoman. She is also Darcy's aunt, and she assumes that her daughter will marry Darcy. Lady Catherine criticizes Elizabeth for her upbringing upon their first meeting, and later berates her for an alleged-but, at the time, untrue- proposal to Darcy.

Related Links:

Pride and Prejudice Quotations
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 1-7 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 8-14 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 1-7 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 8-14 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 15-21 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 22-28 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 29-35 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 36-43 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 44-49 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 50-55 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Chapters 56-61 Quiz
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 15-21 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 22-28 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 29-35 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 36-43 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 44-49 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 50-55 Summary
Pride and Prejudice Chapters 56-61 Summary
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