Pride and Prejudice Questions and Answers
by Jane Austen

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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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Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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wannam eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While I can...

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darcys-tango | Student

As I see it:

Mrs Bennet was a foolish character. Jane Austen made her that way quite deliberately. Her intentions and aims for her daughters futures were quite normal and understandable, even admirable in the strict sense. Her application of them, however, was crass and, in Darcy's words, showed a distinct "want of propriety", something very evident in Eliza's shame at her behavoiur on several occasions.

She almost threw Jane at Charles Bingley, and created a mental picture of dragging a clergyman around behind her just in case. Her behaviour and treatment of the Lucas family when Charlotte's engagement to Mr Collins was made known was quite unwarranted in anyone's eyes, and her constant complaining about her poor nerves was made deliberately annoying by the mischevious pen of Jane Austen.  Her encouragement to her youngest daughters to be flirtatious and foolish just adds to the agument as does her constant reference to monetary worth rather than any form of romance, a case well proven by her insistence that Eliza marry the bumbling Reverend Collins. I'm quite sure Jane Austen saw her almost as villainous, if less devious, as Wickham in her own way.   

dartubi | Student

Do you think Jane Austen was trying to depict her own mother's actions in this novel, since she was in a family with six siblings herself?