Discuss briefly the characters of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet fall into two types. The first type is the rational, industrious, well-mannered type, and Jane and Elizabeth are the only two in this category. The second type is the vain, silly, foolish, unaccomplished, ill-mannered type. Kitty, who has nothing much to say for herself and follows Lydia; Mary, who has visions of grand intellectualism and artistic accomplishment; and Lydia, who is flirtatious and unconcerned about the affects of her actions, are the three daughters in this second category.

Jane and Elizabeth are admired and loved for their beauty, kindness, affableness and lovableness. Jane is the one of the sisters who is most beautiful and the one most sweet tempered. Though Elizabeth is almost equally beautiful, she has an over-developed sense of ironic ridicule that blinds her to the serious side of her prejudices and leads her into own pridefulness.

Mary embarrasses the family by her overt efforts to seem to be intelligent and by exposing herself to censure in social gatherings by volunteering herself for an only passable job of entertaining the entire gathering. Kitty tags along after her younger sister Lydia who is the whirlwind who rushes all three of them into foolish behavior. She also rushes herself into dangerous behavior when she asks Wickham if she can accompany him as he escapes his debtors. When he agrees, she calls it an elopement even though Wickham has no marital designs whatsoever.

The wrong behavior of every sister, from Jane to Lydia--which is the result of their mother's foolishness and their father's emotional retirement from guiding his family because of his disappointments in marriage--nearly ruins the happiness and prospects of the whole family. Jane almost loses Bingley. Elizabeth almost fails to see the truth about Darcy. Lydia almost brings a shame that would destroy the marital hopes of her sisters upon the whole family.

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