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 uncertain temper” (p. 3).

From the beginning of the novel, her only goal is for her daughters to marry well. Apart from this goal, she also likes gossiping: “The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news” (p. 3)

She also takes pride in her past beauty and believes that her daughters inherited their beauty from her: “My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty” (p. 2).

She is embarrassing without realising so herself, especially in th...

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