Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis

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  • 0:00 Mr. Collins
  • 0:53 Claim on Longbourn
  • 1:29 Character Analysis
  • 3:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

In this lesson, we'll examine the character of Mr. Collins from 'Pride and Prejudice,' particularly his relationship with the Bennet family and Lady Catherine.

Mr. Collins

Do you remember taking family vacations when you were younger? Usually, it was a good thing. If your cousins were invited as well, you got to play with children other than your siblings, and usually you got to go somewhere fun, even if it was just to your grandparents' house. That is, unless you had a cousin who was always whining about something, and complaining, and sucking up to the adults constantly. Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, had one of these cousins, too. Worse for her, however, was the fact that her annoying cousin, Mr. Collins, wanted to marry her! Even after Elizabeth turned Mr. Collins down, she still had to hear his input on her evolving relationship, both friendly and romantic, with Mr. Darcy. Talk about family drama!

Claim on Longbourn

Mr. Collins is due to inherit Longbourn, the Bennet family estate, following the death of Mr. Bennet. Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Bennet, is forever trying to get one of her daughters to marry him so that they can stay on in the house, due to the laws of primogeniture, or law of succession, that existed at that time in Britain. Mr. Collins is shown as a counterpoint to Elizabeth, being that he is somewhat weak and malleable, while Elizabeth is strong and determined. Yet, because of their respective sexes, it is Mr. Collins who will inherit Longbourn.

Character Analysis

Mr. Collins, from his first mention in the book, is described as being both pompous and materialistic. He comes to stay for a week, and attempts to ingratiate himself with the Bennets. Mr. Collins waffles between Jane and Elizabeth, focusing his sights on Elizabeth when he finds out that Jane could be engaged sooner rather than later. Again, when his character interacts with Elizabeth, his demeanor and characteristics are a turn off for her, and his morals, despite his elevated sense of himself, seem to be lacking.

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