Oh, single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!

Mrs. Bennet’s almost absurd enthusiasm for Mr. Bingley’s arrival in the neighborhood introduces her as a silly and melodramatic character obsessed with the marriage of her daughters. She has not met Mr. Bingley nor knows anything about him, but because he is a wealthy bachelor, she has already imagined that he’s a suitable match for one of her daughters. While her desire for her daughters to marry is reasonable as their futures depend on it, her complete lack of consideration of reality or circumstances comes off quite vapid.

[H]er mother was talking to that one person (Lady Lucas) freely, openly, and of nothing else but of her expectation that Jane would be soon married to Mr. Bingley.

Mrs. Bennet’s rudeness at the Netherfield Ball almost ruins Jane’s prospects of marrying Mr. Bingley. Although Mr. Bingley has shown favor toward Jane, he has not yet proposed, and so Mrs. Bennet’s surety is presumptuous. Her loud and open conversation with Lady Lucas is not only tactless but appears conniving and money-hungry. We later learn that this conversation convinces Darcy that Mrs. Bennet is encouraging Jane toward Mr. Bingley because of his money. Although Mrs. Bennet has good intentions, she is unfortunately unable to keep her mouth shut when she should.

It is very hard to think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of this house, that I should be forced to make way for her, and live to see her take my place in it!

Mrs. Bennet makes this comment not long after Charlotte Lucas accepts Mr. Collins’s proposal. Throughout the novel, Mrs. Bennet has been engaged in tacit competition with Mrs. Lucas over their daughters’ marriages. This apparent triumph of Charlotte has brought out some of the worst in Mrs. Bennet. Her bitterness here is particularly nasty and emphasizes that while her fears about her daughters’ futures are warranted, Mrs. Bennet also has very shallow motivations. Instead of being relieved that Charlotte, as a friend of the family, would be unlikely to turn out the Bennets, all Mrs. Bennet can think of is status.

The marriage of a daughter . . . was now on the point of accomplishment, and her thoughts and her words ran wholly on those attendants of elegant nuptials, fine muslins, new carriages, and servants.

Once again, Mrs. Bennet’s complete focus on finding marriages for her daughters renders her unable to acknowledge the situation she finds herself in. Lydia may be married to Wickham, but in terrible circumstances that just barely skirt the bounds of propriety. Marriage may be the best outcome in this situation, but it is still a bad situation for Lydia. However, Mrs. Bennet chooses to focus on the fact that Lydia is married instead of paying attention to any of the material circumstances surrounding it. Her denial emphasizes her foolishness.

Oh, my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane’s is nothing to it—nothing at all. I am so pleased—so happy.

Mrs. Bennet’s shallowness comes on full display here. Before hearing about Darcy’s proposal, Mrs. Bennet calls him disagreeable, but as soon as his wealth benefits her, she immediately changes her opinion. Her complete lack of concern for any emotional aspect of the match comes as no surprise given her previous desire for Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins. The way she compares Elizabeth to Jane is also distressing, but as Jane and Elizabeth never compete, this crassness becomes laughable. Ultimately, we see here that Mrs. Bennet has not changed one bit.