Mr & Mrs Bennet

Mr Bennet

Outer characterisation

Mr Bennet is a secondary character in Austen's Pride and Prejudice and important for his relationship with his family and his daughter Elizabeth in particular. He is a flat character since he acts in similar ways even when circumstances change throughout the novel. The most relevant example is his general sarcasm and passiveness; even his youngest daughter's catastrophic elopement with Wichkam does not effect any permanent change in him. He still prefers to reamin fairly aloof concerning family issues.

In terms of his outer characterisation, Mr Bennet owns the Longbourn house and estate which brings the family about £2,000 a year (p. 18). He is married to Mrs Bennet and they have five daughters together. He is also educated and passionate about books.

Inner characterisation

The inner characterisation of Mr Bennet reveals that he is quite intelligent. However, he is also no longer in love with his (less intelligent) wife and tends to be rather distant with most of his family, with the exception of Elizabeth. About halfway through the novel, Austen gives the readers an explanation of his character and his relationship with his family:

Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthro…


Mrs Bennet

Outer characterisation

Mrs Bennet is a secondary, flat character in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, like her husband Mr Bennet. Her ideas and behaviour do not change as a result of the action. Her goal remains to marry off her daughters, and she continues to act in rather embarrassing ways.

Her outer characterisation tells us that she has a brother as well as a sister and does not come from the gentry class as she was the daughter of an attorney, not of a landowning person (p. 19). She married Mr Bennet with a dowry of £4,000 (p. 19), and they have five daughters together. In her youth, she was a beautiful woman (p. 2) which is what attracted Mr Bennet in the first place (p. 164). 

Inner characterisation

Mrs Bennet’s inner characterisation suggests that she is frivolous, lacks good manners, and does not give her daughters the education they need. Initially, she is described directly: “She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and un…

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