She presents her characters realistically, with much pain to the nuance of manner and behavior without any deviation from the standard.
Elizabeth, the second eldest of the Bennet family is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice. She is the most intelligent and spirited young woman with quick wit. She prides herself on her ability to judge other people’s characters. Unfortunately for her, she misunderstands Darcy and Whickam’s true characters. In the novel Elizabeth’s character had to deal with a hopeless mother, a distant father, two badly behaved younger siblings, and several snobbish, antagonizing sisters of Bingley and Catherine de Borough. It takes her time to recognize the noble nature and the attitude of Darcy.
As the novel progresses, her characters take a dynamic change to come to terms with Darcy. She is a strong believer in marrying for love. Her wish is granted at the end when she let go of her prejudice over Darcy, in whom she finds her true love.
Darcy in the novel is projected as a wealthy, proud young man of a well-established family. He is the master of the great estate of Pemberley. Darcy is Elizabeth’s male counterpart, often seen through the perspective of Elizabeth; it is soon evident despite their indifference that they would make a better match. He is intelligent and straightforward, at the same time with a tendency to judge too hastily and harshly.
For example, when he was introduced to Elizabeth, he makes comment on her to be tolerable but not convincing enough for him to dance. His pride is the enemy that allowed him to focus on how unsuitable a match she is than her charms, beauty, or anything else complimentary when he proposes to her for the first time.
Yet, when he realizes the cause for Elizabeth’s behavior, he continues to pursue Elizabeth, and marry her against the wishes of his haughty aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Darcy proves himself worthy of Elizabeth, by reuniting Jane and Bingley, and when saving Lydia from disgrace without anything in return.
Jane Bennet & Charles Bingley
Jane Bennet is a beautiful and gentle daughter of Mr. Bennet. She is Elizabeth’s confidant and the oldest of the Bennet daughters. Though, she falls in love with Bingley, due to her modest nature, acts cautiously in revealing her feelings for him.
Bingley is a good-natured and wealthy friend of Darcy who falls in love with Jane. He is presented as a character, which can be easily influenced by others. Especially, in the Pride and Prejudice novel, Darcy’s influence on him is evident which allows the progress of the story.
Jane and Bingley’s love story is the central plot of the novel. Yet, their characters do not have the depth of Elizabeth and Darcy. They are so similar in nature and behavior for they both are cheerful, friendly, and good-natured, always ready to think the best of others. Compared to Elizabeth and Darcy duo they lack entirely the prickly egotism. Jane has a gentle spirit while Elizabeth has a fiery, contentious nature. At the same time, Bingley’s eager friendliness contrasts with Darcy’s stiff pride. Jane and Bingley’s love story focus on loving unhampered by either pride or prejudice.
Mr. Bennet is a gentleman of modest income, married Mrs. Bennet (neé Gardiner) below his rank. He is presented as an ironic and often apathetic father, who uses his satire on his wife and irritates her often. He has a diagonally opposite character to his wife. Though he loves them, he has failed to provide a secure financial future for his wife and daughters. For the most part of the novel, he fails as a parent. He prefers to be left alone from the never-ending marriage concerns of the women around him.
Mr. Bennet’s wife, and foolish, unrestrained mother. She is obsessed with finding wealthy and suitable husbands for her daughters. She is a boisterous lady who often complaints about her nerves. Her low breeding and often unbecoming behavior seem to be the major obstacle in finding suitors for her daughters.
Caroline Bingley is one of the two sisters of Bingley. She is shallow but pretentious in her knowledge of fashion literature and the world. Also, she is haughty over her social class, who looks down upon the people of Longbourn. Though she befriends Jane in the beginning, she snubs her later. She is jealous of Elizabeth. For, despite her constant attempts to attract Darcy, his attentions are drawn to Elizabeth.
Wickham is a handsome, well-spoken young man, and a fortune-hunting militia officer. He is the antagonist in this well-structured story. He uses his charisma to have his way out with others. His behavior throughout the novel shows him to be a gambler and extravagant. He initially tries to have his way with Elizabeth, but runs off with Lydia and eventually forced to marry her. Like Elizabeth, he has the ability to read people which he uses to his advantage. For example, when he finds that Elizabeth dislikes Darcy, he insinuates her dislike to gain her sympathies.
Lydia, the last of the five Bennet daughters, is immature and irresponsible. She seems to be Mrs. Bennet’s favorite. Unlike Elizabeth, Lydia flings herself headlong into romance and shocks the family by running away with Wickham.
Mary is the middle (third) Bennet daughter. She is serious, preachy, and pretentious. Being the less attractive among the five, she prefers to read and play piano, despite her lack of knowledge in them. She marries one of her Uncle Philips’s clerks in the end.
Catherine (Kitty) Bennet
Catherine Bennet is the weak-spirited fourth daughter of the Bennet family. She is called “kitty” lovingly by her close friends and family. Even though she is two years older than Lydia, completely under her younger sister’s guidance, and joins her sister in flirting with soldiers. They are described as being “ignorant, idle and vain.” It is mentioned in the closing chapter that her personality improves after she begins spending most of her time visiting Jane and Elizabeth after their marriages and being kept away from Lydia.
Mr. Collins is Mr. Bennet’s ridiculous cousin, who is destined to inherit Longbourn after Mr. Bennet’s death. He comes to seek a bride among the Bennet sisters. When failed, he eventually marries Charlotte Lucas. Also, he is presented as a pompous, generally idiotic clergyman. In spite of him having nothing to brag about, he keeps boasting about his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Charlotte Lucas is a practical young woman, who knows that love alone is not the requisite of marriage, thus readily agrees to marry Mr.Collins for money and security.
Mr. and Mrs. Hurst
Mr. and Mrs. Hurst are Bingley’s snobbish sister and brother-in-law. Mrs. Hurst is as selfish, hypocritical, and two-faced as her sister. She desires to increase her family’s wealth by making a better match with Darcy’s sister than Jane. On the other hand, the fashionable, Mr. Hurst, prefers to play card and sleep than be a part of his wife and sister in law’s politics.
Lady Catherine De Bourgh
Lady Catherine De Bourgh is Mr. Collins’s patron and Darcy’s aunt. Her snobbish nature is revealed in her encounters with Elizabeth.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is a well-mannered and pleasant cousin of Darcy. He unintentionally reveals Darcy’s role in separating Jane from Bingley.
Darcy’s young and warmhearted sister. She is naturally a shy girl despite her beauty with great skill at playing the pianoforte.
Sir William and Lady Lucas
Sir William and Lady Lucas are Charlotte’s parents and the Bennets’ neighbors. Sir William is known for his very civil manners. He moved into the Lucas Lodge when he was made a knight. At the same time, Lady Lucas is a good-natured woman. She is not clever enough to be a valuable neighbor to Mrs. Bennet. She seems to a valuable source of gossip for the neighbors.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
The Gardiners are intelligent and cultivated to be Mrs. Bennet’s Brother and Sister in law. They are naturally caring, nurturing, and full of common sense. They act better parents to the Bennet daughters.
Mr. and Mrs. Phillips
Mr.Phillips, a country attorney, has no big role to play in the novel. He is married to Mrs. Phillips, sister of Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Philips is considered to be vulgar, rude, and tasteless by everyone in the novel except Mr. Collins.