Minor Characters in Pride and Prejudice: Charlotte’s Influence on ElizabethGet Your
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Alyssa Vermillion 3/04/11 The Foils of Elizabeth: Highlighting Her Prejudice The minor characters in Pride and Prejudice are very important because of the tone and humor they add to the novel, but most importantly, the minor characters give insight to the main characters, especially to Elizabeth. No minor character gives more insight into Elizabeth’s than Charlotte, demonstrating that Elizabeth is narrow minded and quick to judge. One of the main insights into Elizabeth’s character is the need to show more affection towards men.
Charlotte believes that a woman should show more affection towards men initially, even if they don’t feel that way, in order to show their interest in men. Elizabeth starkly contrasts this, mainly because she does not understand the reason behind it. Not only do their views contrast, but their motives behind these views are juxtaposed as well. Charlotte is driven by the need to be supported by a man and the desire to not burden her parents any longer. On the other hand, Elizabeth believes that marriage should be for the love of another, not based upon dowry or arrangements.
Because of the contrast between both women’s ideals, the relationships between Darcy and Collins are understandable. The reason Elizabeth turned Mr. Collins away was because she did not love him and the reason Charlotte accepted his proposal was because she wanted that stability. Elizabeth fell for Mr. Darcy in the end based off of his actions as a person, not for his stability and financial well-being. Charlotte also helps to highlight the different types of marriage, mostly highlighting the most common reason for marriage. While Elizabeth believes in marrying to be happy, Charlotte, and even Mr.
Collins, marries because they have to. Charlotte, not wanting to be a burden on her parents and not wanting to be an old maid must marry soon. Mr. Collins is under the same predicament, in which he has to marry for his clergyman position. This is why the two pair together, because for their own requirements of marriage, they are perfect for each other. Charlotte gets a stable home and Collins fills his work requirements and can continue in his profession. Though common during the time, the idea of marrying for comfort and stability is appalling to Elizabeth, which is why Mr.
Collin’s proposal is so amusing. However, without knowing what the norms of society are and without knowing other viewpoints, specifically Charlotte’s, on marriage, Mr. Collins proposal may have had a different impact to the novel as a whole: it is Charlotte’s insights on marriage that give shape to Elizabeth’s thoughts. Charlotte also exposes the judgmental, prejudice nature of Elizabeth’s personality. Because Charlotte decides to settle and Elizabeth does not, it brings forth the judgmental qualities in her, such as when Mr. Collins proposed.
Elizabeth is flabbergasted by his proposal and retorts, “You are too hasty, Sir,” she cried. “You forget that I have made no answer. Let me do it without farther loss of time. Accept my thanks for the compliment you are paying me, I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than decline them. ” Elizabeth judges Mr. Collins based on his “hasty” proposal, mostly upon his assumption that she would say yes. Charlotte helps to emphasize this prejudice because she would have said yes, and does say yes to Mr. Collins and thus making Mr.
Collins supposed and amusing wrongful assumption correct. Charlotte also acts as a catalyst for kindling the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth travels to see Charlotte and on this trip she also visits Darcy’s estate, Pemberly. When she talks to the housemaid, she finally understands that she misjudged Darcy. She comes to realize that Darcy has helped her and her family in multiple ways, especially with Lydia and Wickham. Without visiting Charlotte, however, it is unlikely that Elizabeth would have come to this conclusion, that she is prideful and prejudice, about Mr. Darcy.
Charlotte has always had a grand insight into the feelings Darcy has for Elizabeth: she was the first to point out that Darcy may have feelings for Elizabeth after all. She also noticed that after some of the rude remarks Elizabeth said about Mr. Darcy, He seemed to have fallen out of love with her, though he was just being dull and boring. His actions demonstrate the ideals of Charlotte, especially the idea that women should be more affectionate than they actually intend, which can be applied to Darcy in this case. Although Charlotte is a minor character, she plays a major role within the novel.
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She highlights Elizabeth’s prejudice and misjudgments on others, but most importantly she demonstrates the typical type of marriage of the period, which is used as juxtaposition against Elizabeth’s ideas of marriage. Charlotte embodies the typical woman, where as Elizabeth is more radical in her opinions. In a time where everything circles around marriage, Charlotte shows the drastic difference between the traditional type of marriage and a modern take on the idea and the prejudice that goes along with both. Work Cited Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Dover, 1995. Mino
Author: Alfred Gobeil
Minor Characters in Pride and Prejudice: Charlotte’s Influence on Elizabeth
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Read an in-depth analysis of Elizabeth Bennet.
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Lydia Bennet - The youngest Bennet sister, she is gossipy, immature, and self-involved. Unlike Elizabeth, Lydia flings herself headlong into romance and ends up running off with Wickham.
Mr. Collins - A pompous, generally idiotic clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property. Mr. Collins’s own social status is nothing to brag about, but he takes great pains to let everyone and anyone know that Lady Catherine de Bourgh serves as his patroness. He is the worst combination of snobbish and obsequious.
Miss Bingley - Bingley’s snobbish sister. Miss Bingley bears inordinate disdain for Elizabeth’s middle-class background. Her vain attempts to garner Darcy’s attention cause Darcy to admire Elizabeth’s self-possessed character even more.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh - A rich, bossy noblewoman; Mr. Collins’s patron and Darcy’s aunt. Lady Catherine epitomizes class snobbery, especially in her attempts to order the middle-class Elizabeth away from her well-bred nephew.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner - Mrs. Bennet’s brother and his wife. The Gardiners, caring, nurturing, and full of common sense, often prove to be better parents to the Bennet daughters than Mr. Bennet and his wife.
Charlotte Lucas - Elizabeth’s dear friend. Pragmatic where Elizabeth is romantic, and also six years older than Elizabeth, Charlotte does not view love as the most vital component of a marriage. She is more interested in having a comfortable home. Thus, when Mr. Collins proposes, she accepts.
Georgiana Darcy - Darcy’s sister. She is immensely pretty and just as shy. She has great skill at playing the pianoforte.
Mary Bennet - The middle Bennet sister, bookish and pedantic.
Catherine Bennet - The fourth Bennet sister. Like Lydia, she is girlishly enthralled with the soldiers.