Comparing Mrs. Bennet In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

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In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet models how irrational thinking and narrow-mindedness adversely affect oneself as well as those around them. Her values compromising members of the Bennet clan, the woman is shown to be particularly dangerous because she doesn’t realize the consequences of her actions. Undergoing great change midway through the novel, Elizabeth is contrasted by Mrs. Bennet in the sense that a biased perspective and lack of self-awareness are once shared by the two but are abandoned by Mrs. Bennet’s daughter. Mrs. Bennet’s regard for one’s wealth and disregard for character makes her susceptible to misjudging those around her. On the lookout for a “single man in possession of a good fortune” (1) for her daughters, …show more content…
Bennet’s regard for wealth also causes her to ignore the physical wellbeing of her daughters in an effort to secure them financially stable marriages. Learning that Bingley invited Jane to dine with him, Mrs. Bennet’s insistence that Jane go to Netherfield by “horseback” (22) is a strategic move in the direction of securing Bingley as her husband because, “likely to rain” (22) later, it would mean that Jane “must spend the night” (22) at Netherfield. Successfully overturning Jane’s request to ride “in a carriage” (22), Mrs. Bennet’s farewell to Jane is accompanied by “cheerful prognostics of a bad day” (22) because her plan is coming along nicely. Mrs. Bennet’s design for Jane riding on there being rain in the near future, however, it’s unclear as to why Mrs. Bennet disregards the fact that Jane will be drenched in the inevitable downpour. Jane actually falling ill, for Mrs. Bennet to express “no wish of her recovering immediately, as her restoration to health would probably remove her from Netherfield” (30), this supports the idea that to Mrs. Bennet, harm enacted onto others can be justified by a sufficient amount of wealth that is gained in the process. To Mrs. Bennet, Jane’s illness is both a side effect of and a necessary step in coming closer to Bingley’s “four or five thousand” …show more content…
Bennet’s behavior suggests that her marriage to Mr. Bennet was for its advantages and not her love for him. Unable to “hardly contain herself” (232) upon having been given the knowledge of Lydia’s “being soon married” (232), Mrs. Bennet’s approval of Wickham is definitely reflective of the fact that she ignores Mr. Wickham’s treacherous and manipulative character in her observation of the man. Entranced by the thought of wealth and material satisfaction, because Mrs. Bennet is willing to wed her children off to rich strangers and obviously bad people, it’s within reason to assume that when she was young, she went after every well-off man she could find. Having inherited a relatively large estate, Mr. Bennet fits the bill of an eligible husband for Mrs. Bennet because he would have had assets that, like Mr. Bingley’s, were particularly desirable to Mrs. Bennet. A character who is “fond” (180) of “books” (180), favors the smarts of Elizabeth over his other children, and cowers at the first whiff of his wife’s unintelligible yammering, Mr. Bennet’s personality is Mrs. Bennet’s polar opposite and the two do not get along. Clearly attracted to the man for something other than his person, it would make perfect sense for Mrs. Bennet to have married Mr. Bennet without much regard for their martial compatibility because she had a greater regard for his wealth than his personality.

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