Pride And Prejudice: Cast of Characters

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

This lesson outlines the important characters in one of Jane Austen's greatest novels. We'll learn the major and minor characters and how they contribute to setting up this love story.

Overview of Pride and Prejudice

All stories have a cast of characters used to draw in and relate to the reader. The classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, is no different.

Jane Austen's masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, is often thought of as the quintessential love story. It takes place in 1800s England and centers on the daily life of the upper-middle class gentry. A beloved story through the years, it is also one of the first to ask the age-old question: Will they or won't they?

However, the text itself can be a difficult read, especially for those who have never before read novels written from that era. This lesson outlines the cast of characters to clarify their connections and importance.

Portrait of Jane Austen
Jane Austen

Main Characters

Couple Number 1

The heroine of Pride and Prejudice is Elizabeth Bennet, second eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth is a strong-willed, independently thinking young woman who is not afraid to stand up for herself. She is one of the few young women of her age not chasing officers or other young men trying to find a husband. She is not opposed to marriage, but wants to find a man who challenges her, while at the same time treating her as an intellectual equal.

The other main character is the haughty Mr. Darcy. Darcy is a young man of high class and social status. His father died years ago, leaving him in charge of a massive estate and fortune. Darcy is the guardian of his younger sister. Darcy adores her and protects her in any way possible. He is often seen as a proud and arrogant man, mostly due to his antisocial nature. Elizabeth and Darcy meet at a ball, where Elizabeth makes this very observance of his character. However, he has a much softer side, and the rest of the story details the errors in her judgment of him.

Couple Number 2

Elizabeth's older sister is Jane, who is the beauty of the family. She is extremely shy and good natured, never believing anything negative about others. Jane falls head over heels for Mr. Bingley, but is separated from him via Darcy's influence. Jane and Elizabeth are very close, and Elizabeth uses Darcy's interference as further evidence of his indecent behavior.

Speaking of Mr. Bingley, he is a friend of Mr. Darcy's and new neighbor to the Bennet's. His moving into a neighboring house sets off the plot of the story. Mr. Bingley is also very trusting of others and a bit shy. It is love at first sight when Jane enters his life, but his weaker nature is easily persuaded by Darcy that Jane does not truly love him.

These are the main characters in Pride and Prejudice, however many of the minor characters have a major impact on the plot.

Minor Characters

The Parents

The rest of the Bennet family also has importance. Elizabeth's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are the old married couple who bicker and tease each other as a means of showing affection. Mrs. Bennet has only one goal in life: to marry off her daughters.

The Sisters

Jane and Elizabeth have three younger sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia.

  • Lydia, the youngest at 15 years old, is officer-crazy. She wants nothing more than to flirt with young men.
  • Kitty is a few years older, but follows Lydia's example.
  • Mary, the middle in age, is the loner of the family.

A Distant Cousin

One other member of the Bennet family is Mr. Collins, a clergyman and distant cousin who will inherit Mr. Bennet's estate after his death. Mr. Collins intends to marry one of the Bennet daughters. Mrs. Bennet has extreme anxiety over what will become of them all after Mr. Bennet dies, and so is overjoyed at his plans.

However, Mr. Collins gives dull lectures and makes oddball comments. He ultimately proposes to Elizabeth, who refuses him absolutely. Her father proudly supports her. Eventually, Mr. Collins marries Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth's best friend. Charlotte accepts him because she has no other prospects.

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