Do the unseen characters in "Pride and Prejudice" have any significance?Do the offstage (or rarely appearing) characters have any significance? What is their role in the novel?
Probably the most significant offstage character is the book is the unnamed relative who "entailed" the Bennet estate. This practice was used to prevent large estates from being divided into smaller and smaller tracts of land when an owner died and felt obligated to divide his property into pieces for each one of his sons and/or daughters. Entailing" a piece of property, meant that only the oldest male relative could inherit the land.Thus, large land tracts were kept together but it removed women from the right to inherit property their fathers or husbands owned. Since the Bennet estate was entailed, it meant that neither Mrs. Bennet nor any of her daughters could inherit their own home. Instead, since the Bennets had no son, the oldest male relative, Mr. Collins, was heir to the estate. This practice is the main motivation for the all of the actions of Mrs. Bennet. She is afraid that if her daughter are not married to men who can support them ( and her, after the death of her husband), they will have no where to live and they will therefore be impoverished.