An Analysis of Characters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

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An Analysis of Characters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

An author will often give his or her work a title that reflects the overall theme or meaning of the piece-this is certainly the case in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. A title may set the mood or describe a situation which otherwise might require several paragraphs to develop. Pride and Prejudice is a combination of humor, irony, and twists of events. Austen entitles her work Pride and Prejudice to emphasize subtly the fact that most characters in the work have a certain degree of pride or prejudice. Among the characters who display these traits are Mr. Collins, Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Miss Bingley, and, of course, Darcy and Elizabeth.

Although Darcy and Elizabeth are the two central characters, and are the ones who are proud and prejudiced respectively, there are several others who are plagued with character flaws. At the opening of the story, Mr. Collins is introduced as the cousin of the Bennets who is coming to Longbourn for a visit. Mr. George Wickham is an officer introduced toward the beginning of the novel. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is the rich influential aunt of Mr. Darcy who tries to sabotage his engagement to Elizabeth. Miss Bingley is the person who thinks ill of the Bennets from their first meeting. These characters all have the problem of being either proud or prejudiced.

Elizabeth most aptly describes Mr. Collins when she says he is "conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, [and] silly" (Austen 129). Austen says of Collins:

the respect which he [feels] for [Lady Catherine's] high rank, and his veneration for her as his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his right...

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