Mrs.Bennet's is NOT an ignorant or foolish character but a responsible and realistic one. "If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,... and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for" - Mrs.Bennet Many Pride and Prejudice analysis describe Mrs.Bennet's character as foolish,ignorant or stupid. However, this quote proves that she is merely seeking the happiness of her daughters and at that time happiness was defined by marriage and status in society, that is shown in the famous first line of the novel. Aspects that could be discussed: 1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain your answer. 2. Were her actions harshly critiqued and misunderstood by critics? 3. Was the author trying to depict the image of her real mother in the novel? Your opinions are highly valued and acknowledged, thank you.  

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Mrs. Bennet knows the practical reality that most women in her time needed to be married if they hoped to live reasonably happy lives. She is still, however, foolish in various ways and a source of great amusement. The two traits of her character need not cancel each other out.

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I agree with you that she wanted her children to be successful.  In the case of having daughters, that meant marrying them off to a wealthy or at least comfortable man.  We judge her based on our current perceptions, but times and conventions were different then.

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While I can agree that the quote proves Mrs. Bennet cares for her daughters, it does not necessarily prove that she is not a foolish character.  I think the author is making the point that many women during this time period were foolish.  Happiness was defined by marriage and women were certainly bound to follow societies principals.  Mrs. Bennet also says, "when you have five daughters tell me what else will occupy your thoughts."  The author is using Mrs. Bennet to show the frivolous nature of women and society at the time.  Looking back we do see Mrs. Bennet and much of Victorian society as foolish.  Of course, Mrs. Bennet does care for her daughters.  She wants them to marry and be taken care of.  She also hopes they will "marry well" which means to marry someone rich or of high standing in society.  We see this contrasted in Jane and Elizabeth's ideas of a good marriage.  Jane says "you know perfectly well I do not believe marriage should be driven by talks of money."  Jane and Elizabeth's attitudes toward marriage and romantic attachments appear far more modern in contrast with Mrs. Bennet's frivolous ideas.

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