Elizabeth Bennet, a spirited and intelligent girl who represents “prejudice” in her attitude toward Fitzwilliam Darcy, whom she dislikes because of his pride. She is also prejudiced against him by Mr. Wickham, whose false reports of Darcy she believes, and hence rejects Darcy’s haughty first proposal of marriage. Yet Wickham’s elopement with her sister Lydia brings Elizabeth and Darcy together, for it is Darcy who facilitates the legal marriage of the runaways. Acknowledging her mistake in her estimation of Darcy, she gladly accepts his second proposal.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, the wealthy and aristocratic landowner who represents “pride” in the story. Attracted to Elizabeth Bennet in spite of her inferior social position, he proposes marriage, but in so high-handed a manner that she instantly refuses. The two meet again while Elizabeth is viewing the grounds of his estate in Derbyshire, and she finds him less haughty in his manner. When Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham elope, Darcy feels partly responsible and straightens out the unfortunate affair. Because Elizabeth now realizes his true character, he is accepted when he proposes again.
Jane Bennet, the oldest and most beautiful of the five Bennet sisters. She falls in love with Mr. Bingley, a wealthy bachelor. Their romance is frustrated, however, by his sisters with the help of Mr. Darcy, for the Bennets are considered socially undesirable. As a result of the change in the feelings of Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet toward each other, Jane and Bingley are finally married.
Mr. Bingley, a rich, good-natured bachelor from the north of England. He falls in love with Jane Bennet but is easily turned against her by his sisters and his friend, Mr. Darcy, who consider the Bennets vulgar and socially beneath them. When Darcy changes in his attitude toward Elizabeth Bennet, Bingley follows suit and resumes his courtship of Jane. They are married at the end of the story.
Mr. Bennet, an eccentric and mildly sarcastic small landowner. Rather indifferent to the rest of his family, he loves and admires his daughter Elizabeth.
Mrs. Bennet, his wife, a silly, brainless woman interested only in getting her daughters married.
Lydia Bennet, the youngest daughter, a flighty and uncontrolled girl. At the age of fifteen, she elopes with the worthless Mr. Wickham. Their marriage is finally made possible by Mr. Darcy, who pays Wickham’s debts; but the two are never very happy.
Mary Bennet and
Catherine (Kitty) Bennet
Catherine (Kitty) Bennet, younger daughters of the family.
Mr. Wickham, the villain of the story, an officer in the militia. He had been brought up by the Darcy family and, having a certain charm, attracts Elizabeth Bennet, whom he prejudices against Mr. Darcy by misrepresenting the latter’s treatment of him. Quite unexpectedly, he elopes with fifteen-year-old, flirtatious Lydia Bennet. Darcy, who has tried to expose Wickham to Elizabeth, feels responsible for the elopement and provides the money for the marriage by paying Wickham’s debts. Wickham and Lydia soon tire of each other.
William Collins, a pompous, sycophantic clergyman, distantly related to Mr. Bennet and the heir to his estate, since the Bennets have no son. He proposes to Elizabeth. After her refusal, he marries her friend, Charlotte Lucas.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s aunt and the patron of Mr. Collins. An insufferably haughty and domineering woman, she wants Darcy to marry her only daughter and bitterly resents his interest in Elizabeth Bennet. She tries to break up their love affair but fails.
Anne de Bourgh
Anne de Bourgh, Lady Catherine’s spiritless daughter. Her mother has planned to marry her to Mr. Darcy in order to combine two great family fortunes.
Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth Bennet’s closest friend. Knowing that she will have few chances of marriage, she accepts the pompous and boring Mr. Collins shortly after Elizabeth has refused him.
Caroline Bingley and
Mrs. Hurst, Mr. Bingley’s cold and worldly sisters. They succeed for a time in turning him against Jane Bennet.
Mr. Gardiner, Mrs. Bennet’s brother, a London merchant.
Mrs. Gardiner, his sensible and kindly wife.