Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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Character Traits in Pride and Prejudice

Summary:

Pride and Prejudice features several key character traits. Elizabeth Bennet is intelligent, witty, and independent but also prejudiced. Mr. Darcy is proud, reserved, and initially appears aloof but reveals himself to be honorable and caring. Jane Bennet is kind and gentle, while Mr. Bingley is amiable and sociable. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is haughty and domineering.

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What are the main personality traits of the characters in Pride and Prejudice?The Bennets, the Bingleys, the Darcys, the Collins, the Wickhams.

The Bennets

Mr. Bennet has a quick wit.  He is reserved, quietly observant, and tolerant.  He seems to be constantly at odds with his wife, and favors Elizabeth above all his daughters.

Mrs. Bennet is nervous and has an unsteady temperament.  She is singularly obsessed with her daughters’ marriage prospects, and loves receiving visitors so she can hear the latest gossip.

Jane is the oldest of the Bennet daughters, and considered to be the prettiest.  She is agreeable, sweet-natured, modest and tolerant.

Elizabeth always says what she thinks, to the point where some may find her insolent.  She is lively, witty and clever.

Mary is plain and very pious.  She is not as accomplished musically as she claims to be.

Kitty is often described as silly, along with her sister, Lydia. Both are giggly, flirtatious, superficial, and love parties.

Lydia is the youngest daughter at age fifteen, but is clearly Mrs. Bennet’s favorite.  She is much like her sister Kitty, although perhaps a bit competitive with her as well.

The Bingleys

Charles Bingley is obviously very rich, but his agreeable looks, friendliness, modesty and kindness endear him immediately to the Bennets, particularly Jane.

Louisa Bingley is the eldest of the two sisters.  Like Caroline, she is described as handsome, but is proud and conceited.  Even though she is married, she spends a lot of time with her sister and brother.

Caroline Bingley is like Louisa, in that she is proud and conceited.  She likes to tease Darcy a lot, and although she is never openly rude to the Bennets, her hostility toward them is quite apparent.

The Darcys

Fitzwilliam Darcy is thought at first to be proud, haughty, anti-social, and ill-tempered.  As the story progresses, the real Darcy is revealed to be compassionate, tender, and deeply caring, although very conflicted between his feelings for Elizabeth and his duty to make a good match.  Once he falls in love with her, he wears his heart on his sleeve.

Georgiana Darcy is very accomplished.  She is pretty, well-mannered and has a sweet disposition.

The Collinses

Mr. Collins is a walking contradiction, simultaneously self-important and humble.  The Bennets, with the exception of the mother, all find him a bit ridiculous and stupid.  He is constantly bragging about his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as if his association with her should elevate everyone’s opinion of him.

Charlotte Lucas, who marries Mr. Collins, is Elizabeth’s best friend.  She is at the age (mid to late 20’s) considered to be an old maid by the time she marries.  She is sensible and intelligent, but marries more for security and comfort than for love.

George Wickham at first charms all of the Bennets, particularly Elizabeth, with his good looks, manners, and amiable nature (the officer's uniform probably helps too).  Their good opinion of him is changed when he elopes with Lydia and brings scandal to the Bennet family.  Darcy, who is well acquainted with Wickham, explains his sordid past to Elizabeth, and she realizes that he’s a scoundrel and a gold-digger.

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Who are the main characters in Pride and Prejudice and what are their key traits?

 Of course, “Pride and Prejudice” is a fairly lengthy novel and there are many characters whose actions impact the plot. However, the Bennet sisters are central to the novel, since there are no boys in the family and the family’s entire fortune is entailed to the oldest living male relative, Mr. Collins.

Jane Bennet is the oldest and acknowledged prettiest of the Bennet sisters. She becomes romantically attached to Mr. Bingley, a wealthy neighbor. Elizabeth Bennet is the second sister. She is not mild-mannered and passive, like her older sister Jane. Rather, she is quick-witted and confident, often annoying those who prefer more malleable personalities in women. Mary is the third sister and she is depicted as a bookish and studious girl who is less interested in cultivating her feminine charms than her younger sisters. Both younger sisters, Catherine (Kitty) and Lydia, are silly and petty in their pursuits. Both become giddy at the sight of men in uniform and neither chooses to involve herself in consideration of life’s weightier matters. There are several men of note in the novel.

Mr. Collins, the man who is to inherit the Bennet fortune, is presumptuous and conceited. Although a clergyman, he is impressed by wealth and power and shows an unnatural willingness to accept instructions from his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Mr. Bingley is a wealthy young man with a generous spirit. He is immediately attracted to Jane Bennet. His close friend, Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, is pompous and condescending. He resists his initial attraction to Elizabeth Bennet, choosing to insult her rather than compliment her. Mr. Wickham is an unprincipled and deceitful man who takes advantage of the women in his life. His actions are always self-serving. Knowing that Mr. Darcy is aloof, he takes advantage of an opportunity to slander his reputation.

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