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Analyse Mrs Bennet’s character in ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ by looking closely at her attitude and behaviour. Comment on what you think Mr Darcy and Elizabeth think of her, as well as your own views.

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Introduction

Analyse Mrs Bennet's character in 'Pride and Prejudice,' by looking closely at her attitude and behaviour. Comment on what you think Mr Darcy and Elizabeth think of her, as well as your own views. 'She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper.' Mrs Bennet, the mother of five girls; Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, most resembles her youngest daughter, Lydia; a shallow and flirtatious girl. Similarly, Mrs Bennet is very excitable and pronounces her fondness for 'red coats' when she was Lydia's age. This declaration of her affection is quite endearing and reveals Mrs Bennet's younger side. Mrs Bennet and Lydia are the pinnacles of the kind of characters who talk far too much and fuss about silly things. An example demonstrating this aspect of her character is how Mrs Bennet does not worry herself with the moral consequences of Lydia's 'infamous elopement' but fusses about trivial, frivolous things such as wedding clothes and 'where the best warehouses are.' This also demonstrates her stupidity and lack of insight into human nature which prevents her from realising how close Mrs Bingley comes to being outright rude. She believes that Mr Bingley's sisters were 'charming women.' Then goes on to comment, 'I never in my life saw anything more elegant then their dresses.' Apart from being utterly wrong about them, she demonstrates perfectly her superficiality. ...read more.

Middle

She tells Elizabeth to not dance with Darcy next time, even if he asks her. This is perhaps her way of comforting Elizabeth, because she probably understands that Elizabeth must have been offended. From this point onwards, Mrs Bennet's impression of Darcy changes completely from being 'much handsomer than Mr Bingley' to being a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing.' Her attitude towards him changes completely, and she forgets that she ever liked him in the first place. This reveals her fickleness and superficial judgement. When she didn't know him, she presumed that he was a really nice person just because she knew he was rich, but just as easily as she formed her first opinion of him, she changed her mind. Near the end of the novel she once again changes her opinion of Darcy. Although she has disliked him throughout the whole book, declaring that he is 'so high and so conceited,' she is overjoyed at the news of Elizabeth's engagement to him. She again changes her mind starting to really like him. The rest of the family were worried that she had made the wrong decisions about Darcy and may have been forced to marry him, but Mrs Bennet was not even slightly worried about that. She was just extremely happy that Elizabeth had found a rich husband, and that she only had two more daughters to get married. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows a lack of breeding and Elizabeth 'blushes for her mother,' trying to change the subject. The extreme diffence in character and sense between Elizabeth and Mrs Bennet makes Mrs Bennet look even more foolish and stupid. Mrs Bennet is like a literary caricature of an interfering matchmaker. Her faults are magnified to excessive proportions, making her character almost funny and therefore providing comic relief at tense moments in the play. Her role in the play is to be an obstacle which Darcy needs to overcome and accept in order to show that he truly loves Elizabeth. This is very difficult for Darcy as she is almost his complete opposite. She is silly, obsessive, hysterical and tactless, but in the end he accepts her because of his love for Elizabeth. In conclusion, Elizabeth, Mr Darcy and the reader may feel that Mrs Bennet is a foolish, insensitive woman, appearing to be loud, superficial and quickly irritated, but equally rapidly calmed down. This is because, throughout the novel, Jane Austin allows her more negative aspects to surface at different times throughout the novel by emphasising them through her words and actions. However, I feel that she is in fact a very caring and affectionate mother, who always has her daughter's best interests at heart. Yet, this side of her personality is not often portrayed, forcing Mrs Bennet to be seen as an interfering, thoughtless woman. Roopa Modi Page 1 5/1/2007 ...read more.

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