Pride and Prejudice

by: Jane Austen

Charlotte Lucas

Charlotte is initially described as “a sensible, intelligent woman… who was Elizabeth’s intimate friend.” Because of this intelligence, Elizabeth assumes that Charlotte shares her values, even though Charlotte is actually much more pragmatic and even cynical. For example, after Charlotte makes a series of speeches explaining that “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance” and highlighting the importance of choosing a partner who can provide economic stability, Elizabeth gently rebukes her, explaining that “You know it is not sound and you would never behave in this way yourself.” Because Elizabeth is blind to Charlotte’s true values, she feels shocked and betrayed when Charlotte chooses to marry Mr. Collins. Charlotte’s character is consistent throughout; when Elizabeth goes to visit her after her marriage, she is forced to “meditate upon Charlotte’s degree of contentment… and to acknowledge that it was all done very well.” Charlotte accurately assesses her priorities and what she needs to be happy, and chooses accordingly. As a result, she stands in contrast to Elizabeth, who often forms inaccurate assessments of situations and people.