In Pride and Prejudice, is Mr. Bennet a good father, a good husband, and a good man?  Why or why not?

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Mr. Bennet isn't a particularly good anything, including father, husband, or man.  While he's not a villain, he is lazy and not nearly as astute as he seems to believe.  He is constantly putting down his daughters -- Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, at least -- without regard for the fact that he's done nothing to raise them to be anything other than "silly."  Although Elizabeth warns him that allowing Lydia to go to Brighton is a truly irresponsible move, he disregards her advice and allows his youngest daughter -- a girl who he knows to be vapid and vain -- to enter into a situation that nearly results in the ruination of his family.  Further, he knows that he should have been putting money away to sustain his daughters and provide for their dowries, but he never did it.  He is not a great father.

Mr. Bennet is not a good husband either.  He married his wife too quickly, without having an accurate understanding of her character, and thus saddled himself with a ridiculous woman for life.  Now, he avoids her as much as possible by holing up in his den, and this means that he spends little time with his daughters as well.  Mr. Bennet purposely taunts his wife; consider the time she wants him to visit Mr. Bingley to make the new neighbor's acquaintance, and he swears he will not go -- and then he goes behind her back and tells her about it later, but only after she worries about it.  He seems to enjoy stretching her "nerves": hardly characteristic of a good husband.  He's not made any provisions for her life after his death either.

In the end, Mr. Bennet is selfish.  He may be funny, he may even be right -- his wife is totally ridiculous and irritating -- but the fact that he's made no attempt to take care of his family once he's gone shows just how selfish he is.  Again, he isn't evil, but his laziness and willingness to forget about whatever problems his family might face have created a difficult situation and a great deal of anxiety for them. 

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Pride and Prejudice

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