Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis

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  • 0:00 Lydia Bennet
  • 0:58 Character Description
  • 1:50 Family Relationships
  • 3:31 Lydia & Mr. Darcy
  • 4:12 Lydia & Wickham
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elisa Goldman

Elisa has taught K-6 grades and has two master's degree in Instructional Technology and Education.

In this lesson, we'll briefly analyze Lydia Bennet's role in the novel, 'Pride and Prejudice'. In particular, we will focus on her character traits and her importance to the plot of Jane Austen's novel.

Lydia Bennet

Published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is a novel written by Jane Austen. It tells the story of five sisters, their parents, their neighbors and the ladies and gentlemen who come into their lives. In particular, it is the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her tumultuous relationship with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. But in this lesson we'll focus on another Bennett sister: Lydia.

Lydia Bennet is the youngest of the five sisters. She runs away with George Wickham, believing he would marry her when he really had no really intention of doing so. But after Mr. Darcy covertly bribes Mr. Wickham to help protect Elizabeth's reputation, they eventually marry. Following a tiresome and boastful visit to Longbourn after the marriage, Lydia and 'her Wickham' move to Newcastle so he can take up his assignments in the regular military.

Character Description

Lydia Bennet is described as 'a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance'. She states that 'for though I am the youngest, I'm the tallest.' Lydia is also described in the novel as being self-willed, careless, ignorant, idle and vain. Mrs. Bennet describes her as having 'high animal spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence.' In Mrs. Bennet's opinion, these attributes are the reason why Lydia is popular with the officers. Lydia's goals in life seem to be visiting with the officers, flirting, shopping and enjoying herself to the fullest. Her mother's indulgence has led her to be out in society. As long as she has a chaperone, she can go to parties and meet with gentleman and is generally treated as an adult.

Family Relationships

Lydia Bennet is in constant competition with her older sister, Catherine (Kitty) and acts as the dominating force in the relationship. Both are wrapped up in frivolous pursuits, especially chasing after the officers stationed in the neighboring town of Meryton.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet act in opposition to each other in their behavior towards Lydia. Because she is the youngest daughter, and most similar in temperament to Mrs. Bennet, she is her mother's favorite. As a result of Mrs. Bennet's affections, Lydia enters public life at an early age. Mrs. Bennet believes Lydia's 'easy manners' make her incapable of inappropriate behavior. However, Mr. Bennet is also negligent when it comes to correcting his youngest daughter. After their wedding, he greets Lydia and Mr. Wickham as amusing players who will give the neighbors something to laugh at. Mr. Bennett does, however, care enough about Lydia's reputation to go searching for her when she runs away. This shows he cares for her somewhat, if not out of love, but out of fatherly obligation.

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