The novel’s protagonist. The second daughter of Mr.
Bennet, Elizabeth is the most intelligent and sensible of the five
Bennet sisters. She is well read and quick-witted, with a tongue
that occasionally proves too sharp for her own good. Her realization
of Darcy’s essential goodness eventually triumphs over her initial prejudice
in-depth analysis of Elizabeth Bennet.
A wealthy gentleman, the master of Pemberley, and
the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though Darcy is intelligent
and honest, his excess of pride causes him to look down on his social
inferiors. Over the course of the novel, he tempers his class-consciousness
and learns to admire and love Elizabeth for her strong character.
in-depth analysis of Fitzwilliam Darcy.
eldest and most beautiful Bennet sister. Jane is more reserved and
gentler than Elizabeth. The easy pleasantness with which she and
Bingley interact contrasts starkly with the mutual distaste that
marks the encounters between Elizabeth and Darcy.
in-depth analysis of Jane Bennet.
Darcy’s considerably wealthy best friend. Bingley’s
purchase of Netherfield, an estate near the Bennets, serves as the
impetus for the novel. He is a genial, well-intentioned gentleman,
whose easygoing nature contrasts with Darcy’s initially discourteous demeanor.
He is blissfully uncaring about class differences.
in-depth analysis of Charles Bingley.
patriarch of the Bennet family, a gentleman of modest income with
five unmarried daughters. Mr. Bennet has a sarcastic, cynical sense
of humor that he uses to purposefully irritate his wife. Though
he loves his daughters (Elizabeth in particular), he often fails
as a parent, preferring to withdraw from the never-ending marriage
concerns of the women around him rather than offer help.
in-depth analysis of Mr. Bennet.
Bennet’s wife, a foolish, noisy woman whose only goal in life is
to see her daughters married. Because of her low breeding and often
unbecoming behavior, Mrs. Bennet often repels the very suitors whom
she tries to attract for her daughters.
in-depth analysis of Mrs. Bennet.
handsome, fortune-hunting militia officer. Wickham’s good looks
and charm attract Elizabeth initially, but Darcy’s revelation about
Wickham’s disreputable past clues her in to his true nature and simultaneously
draws her closer to Darcy.
youngest Bennet sister, she is gossipy, immature, and self-involved.
Unlike Elizabeth, Lydia flings herself headlong into romance and
ends up running off with Wickham.
pompous, generally idiotic clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet’s
property. Mr. Collins’s own social status is nothing to brag about,
but he takes great pains to let everyone and anyone know that Lady
Catherine de Bourgh serves as his patroness. He is the worst combination
of snobbish and obsequious.
snobbish sister. Miss Bingley bears inordinate disdain for Elizabeth’s
middle-class background. Her vain attempts to garner Darcy’s attention
cause Darcy to admire Elizabeth’s self-possessed character even
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
A rich, bossy noblewoman; Mr. Collins’s patron and
Darcy’s aunt. Lady Catherine epitomizes class snobbery, especially
in her attempts to order the middle-class Elizabeth away from her
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
Mrs. Bennet’s brother and his wife. The Gardiners,
caring, nurturing, and full of common sense, often prove to be better
parents to the Bennet daughters than Mr. Bennet and his wife.
Elizabeth’s dear friend. Pragmatic where Elizabeth
is romantic, and also six years older than Elizabeth, Charlotte
does not view love as the most vital component of a marriage. She
is more interested in having a comfortable home. Thus, when Mr.
Collins proposes, she accepts.
Darcy’s sister. She is immensely pretty and just
as shy. She has great skill at playing the pianoforte.
middle Bennet sister, bookish and pedantic.
The fourth Bennet sister. Like Lydia, she is girlishly
enthralled with the soldiers.