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The main characters of this novel are Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The two have a love/hate relationship. When they first meet, they are prejudiced against each other. Elizabeth thinks Mr. Darcy is stuck up and pretentious, and he thinks Elizabeth is unworthy of his attention. Eventually though, they begin to fall in love with one another, and must fight their pride (and social conventions) in order to admit it. The other major characters are Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley. Jane (Elizabeth's sister) and Charles fall in love with each other, but outside forces try to keep them apart. Much of this has to do with their differing social status (Charles Bingley is very wealthy). Eventually love prevails and Charles and Jane are happily wed. Mr and Mrs Bennet are Jane and Elizabeth's parents. They are a very entertaining and interesting couple. The two are complete opposites - Mr. Bennet has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor (which Elizabeth has inherited) and Mrs. Bennet is very nervous and silly, very concerned with social status and socializing. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, is very laid back and lets his household full of girls run a bit wild.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five marriageable daughters occupy a large part of Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice. The match-making mother of the mid-18th century semi-rural England and her husband, the typical 18th century man of dry wit, constitute a pair of fascinating foils.
Among the Bennet girls, the most rounded and dynamic is Elizabeth. Her elder sister Jane, in a romantic love at first sight with Mr. Bingley, seems to be a foil to Elizabeth. Two other Bennet daughters of some significance are Lydia and Kate, both of them being immature and flirtatious. Fitzwilliam Darcy, a proud young aristocrat with whom Elizabeth grows a love-hate relationship, is Bingley's friend, and does play a major role in this story of money-marriage-relationships.
We also find a foolish clergyman in Mr. Collins, and his patroness, Lady Catherine, is the typical formidable aunt who opposes the Elizabeth-Darcy marriage. We have a jealous young woman in Bingley's sister, Caroline. Wickham is an unscrupulous youth who poisons Elizabeth's mind towards Darcy and who, at the end of the book, elopes Lydia. The elopement, however, gives Darcy a good chance to prove the authenticity of his love for Elizabeth.
Charlotte Lucas, who marries Collins and settles down to secure conjugal life, is yet another foil to the woman at the core of the novel. We may remember Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner as sympathetic guardians for Elizabeth.
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