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.

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He is all too eager to tell anyone and everyone about his relationship with the prestigious de Bourgh family. Mr. Collins greatly esteems himself and his position in society. He also revels in the fact that the Bennet's estate is entailed on him. At one point he even proposes to Lizzy and is shocked when she is not won over simply by his social status. Elizabeth goes on to say that "the woman who marries [Mr. Collins] cannot have a proper way of thinking" (129). Indeed, the sole reason for Charlotte's marrying him is to secure for herself a comfortable position in life. Elizabeth finds difficulty in understanding how anyone could love a proud man such as Mr. Collins.

On the other hand, the man who nearly wins Elizabeth's heart is Mr. Wickham. He appears one day and immediately captures the hearts of all the young ladies in the neighborhood. Wickham's description of the dealings he has had with Darcy leaves Elizabeth feeling pity and compassion toward him but a stronger degree of dislike for Mr. Darcy. Wickham is obviously proud of the fact that his father was highly esteemed by the late Mr. Darcy. George Wickham thinks that Mr. Darcy owes him something for all that his father did for the Darcys at Pemberley and will stop at nothing to see that he is justly compensated. "Slyly but shrewdly, Wickham encourages Elizabeth to believe that the younger Darcy has been remiss in his social duties" (Kliger 54). Wickham deceives Lizzy by omitting details of his