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Who is Mr Wickham?

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mimine1996 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2009 at 10:49 PM via web

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Who is Mr Wickham?

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2009 at 11:58 PM (Answer #1)

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mimine1996,

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of the most often read novels in English high school classes. The novel offers timeless themes and subjects, and reveals a very static society fixed in social class, gender identity, and familial relationships.

The character of George Wickham is an old acquaintance of Mr. Darcy, and an officer in the army unit stationed near Meryton. A topically charming person, he forms a friendship with Elizabeth Bennet, prompting many to remark upon his suitability as a potential husband.

Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned, and Elizabeth was the happy woman by whom he finally seated himself; and the agreeable manner in which he immediately fell into conversation, though it was only on its being a wet night, and on the probability of a rainy season, made her feel that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker. (Chapter 16)

He spreads numerous tales about the wrongs Mr. Darcy has done to him, obscuring the popular perception of the other man in local society; it is eventually revealed that these tales are distortions.

She perfectly remembered every thing that had passed in conversation between Wickham and herself in their first evening at Mr. Philips's. Many of his expressions were still fresh in her memory. She was now struck with the impropriety of such communications to a stranger, and wondered it had escaped her before. She saw the indelicacy of putting himself forward as he had done, and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct. She remembered that he had boasted of having no fear of seeing Mr. Darcy -- that Mr. Darcy might leave the country, but that heshould standhis ground; yet he had avoided the Netherfield ball the very next week. She remembered also, that till the Netherfield family had quitted the country, he had told his story to no one but herself; but that after their removal, it had been every where discussed; that he had then no reserves, no scruples in sinking Mr. Darcy's character, though he had assured her that respect for the father would always prevent his exposing the son. (Chapter 36)

And, Mr. Darcy was the more wronged man in their acquaintance. Mr. Wickham had fled from debts further impuning his reputation.

With respect to Wickham, the travellers soon found that hewas not held there in much estimation; for though the chief of his concerns with the son of his patron were imperfectly understood, it was yet a well known fact that on his quitting Derbyshirehe had left many debts behind him, which Mr. Darcy afterwards discharged. (Chapter 44)

The character is a main character in Austen's work.  It is probably used as a foil to better highlight the characters of others.

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