Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis

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  • 0:01 Bad Boys
  • 1:02 George Wickham
  • 1:40 Relationship with Lydia
  • 2:24 Comparison to Darcy
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

This lesson discusses the character Mr. Wickham from Jane Austen's classic novel 'Pride and Prejudice.' Both his charms and his faults come to light as the Bennet family learns more about him.

Bad Boys

Think about the most attractive guys at your school. There are the jocks, the smart guys, the ones on student council. Then there are the guys that you know you shouldn't be associating with - the bad boys. They are mysterious, and they make you want to find out what they are all about, with their rebellious streaks and devil-may-care attitudes. Despite the fact that they could get you in trouble, you cannot stay away from them. This is the exact problem that Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, faces with George Wickham. She is smarting from her dismissal by Fitzwilliam Darcy, and she is happy to believe anything bad about him. Wickham uses this knowledge to get closer to Elizabeth and her family, with disastrous consequences. By the time Elizabeth realizes what Wickham really is, it is too late for one of the Bennet girls.

George Wickham

George Wickham enters the novel as a member of the military unit stationed at Meryton. The Bennet girls find him charming, especially Elizabeth. After her disagreement with and subsequent prejudice against Darcy, she is especially apt to believe Wickham's side of the story, who consistently shows her the best side of himself. He carefully ensures that Elizabeth believes his half-truths by always being well-mannered and appearing reluctant to badmouth Darcy. In actuality, Wickham plays Elizabeth and uses her to make inroads with her family and others.

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