Mr. Bingley in Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis & Concept

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  • 0:00 About Pride and Prejudice
  • 1:14 Charles Bingley
  • 2:20 Impact on the Novel
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michelle Herrin

Michelle has taught high school and college English and has master's degrees in eduation and liberal studies.

Let's examine Mr. Bingley's role in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice,' a much-beloved novel. We'll learn about his main character attributes and why he is important to the novel.

About Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice was written by English novelist Jane Austen and published in 1813. The story centers around Elizabeth Bennet, her family, and their neighbors in Meryton, Hertfordshire. The book's main themes include critiques of marriage, wealth, family, and self-identity.

Since the Bennet family has five daughters (and no heir), much of the novel is about their search for suitable husbands. When handsome bachelor Mr. Bingley rents Netherfield Park, a large estate near the Bennet home of Longbourn, Mrs. Bennet is excited at the prospect of this rich and handsome man falling in love with one of her daughters. Indeed, Mr. Bingley seems to fall in love with Jane, the Bennets' eldest daughter, who is sweet and kind.

Mr. Darcy convinces Mr. Bingley that Jane isn't the right match for him, and Mr. Bingley leaves Netherfield Park for London. Jane is brokenhearted at his departure, but she pretends she is okay with it. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is irate because she believes Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley's snobby sister to be behind Mr. Bingley's departure. In the end, Mr. Bingley returns to Longbourn and proposes to Jane. She accepts, and Austen hints that they will be a very happy couple.

Charles Bingley

Let's learn more about Charles Bingley and what he's like.

Mr. Bingley is a handsome, friendly, and wealthy young man. He is a foil (contrast) to Mr. Darcy, who is, at first, snobby and rude. Jane says the following about Mr. Bingley, ''He is just what a young man ought to beā€¦sensible, good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!--so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!'' In fact, Jane and Mr. Bingley are very similar in terms of personality.

So he's a good guy? Well, in many ways, Mr. Bingley seems like the ideal man. However, he is also easily persuaded by his family and friends. For example, although he loves Jane, Mr. Darcy and his sister are able to convince him to leave Netherfield Park (and Jane). Unlike Mr. Darcy who is shown to hold onto convictions, Mr. Bingley seems to be more easily swayed.

Mr. Bingley isn't very well-developed in the novel. Like Jane, he isn't a very interesting person on his own. It's only in contrast to the more interesting Mr. Darcy that we see Mr. Bingley's true purpose in the novel.

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