This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Character Of Lady Catherine De Bourgh In Pride And Prejudice

1311 words - 5 pages

Although typically overlooked by the inattentive reader, the minor character can serve a myriad of literary roles from adding to the overall story elements to distinguishing the character’s impact on the plot. In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, minor characters play a paramount role in advancing the plot, reinforcing Austen's tone, and uniquely contributing to the work as a whole. Surprisingly, the impact of a certain minor character upon the work is illuminated as well as expatiated when analyzed. Lady Catherine de Bourgh has a much greater impact on the plot, characters, and theme of Pride and Prejudice that her minor role would suggest. In this way, she advances the plot, emphasizes the theme of social expectations, and provides a satirical image of the aristocracy.
The character of Lady Catherine de Bourgh is an integral element of the plot, contributing to, as well as influencing, the final outcome of Darcy's marriage and the various factors associated with it. Lady Catherine, a prominent and influential noblewomen in the English aristocracy, thrusts her domineering predilections onto her family, friends, and acquaintances, starting with the pompous clergyman she patronizes, Mr. Collins. Lady Catherine exerts her influence upon Mr. Collins by frankly telling him that he "must marry ...a gentle woman for [her] sake" (92). This effectively causes Collins to peruse Elizabeth, the daughter of the man whose estate he will inherit. After being rejected by Elizabeth, Collins marries Elizabeth's childhood friend Charlotte. On a trip to visit the newly married couple, Elizabeth finds herself and Lady Catherine's nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, at a dinner party hosted by Lady Catherine herself. At the dinner party, Lady Catherine chastises Elizabeth, and Darcy, "ashamed of his aunt’s ill breeding" (149), defends her. As time progresses, Lady Catherine grows increasingly leery of her nephews apparent preference to marry Elizabeth instead of her own daughter Anne. She visits Longbourn in an attempt to assuage her fears by confirming with Elizabeth that any intent to accept a future proposal by Darcy is simply a "scandalous falsehood"(303). However, Lady Catherine's visit inadvertently prompts the opposite outcome when Elizabeth denies to make "any promises of the kind "(306) to reject a proposal. In fact, Lady Catherine's visit rekindles Darcy's hopes that Elizabeth would be receptive to his proposal rather than "absolutely, irreproachably decided against [him]” (315), as he thought she was before Lady Catherine informs him of Elizabeth's response to her inquiry. Much to her chagrin, these events involving Lady Catherine directly push forward Darcy and Elizabeth's eventual marriage.
Lady Catherine also conveys the theme of social expectations by exemplifying the underlying social mores present in the English aristocracy, as well as the author’s attitude towards them. Throughout the novel, Lady Catherine sets the standard for what she...

Find Another Essay On The Character of Lady Catherine de Bourgh In Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet vs. Catherine Earnshaw in Pride and PRejudice and Wuthering Heights

1380 words - 6 pages Main female characters always have a distinct personality that affects their choices and the outcome of their lives. Strong, independent, sarcastic, and witty are all what comes to mind when having to describe Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, the second of five daughters in a middle class family. She is a very intellectual individual who attempts to find romance although surrounded by the limitations and prejudice of social classes

Which is the Most Important Supporting Character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"?

729 words - 3 pages I think that Mr Wickham is the most important supporting character in Pride and Prejudice, because he is central to both Lizzy and Darcy's changes of attitude. Lizzy misjudges Mr Wickham, and in her discovery of his 'true nature' she finds that she has also been wrong about Darcy.The novel Pride and Prejudice has many characters, and each brings their own richness and substance, or lack of said substance, to the story. Obviously the most

Jane Austen's Approach to the Character Emma in Pride and Prejudice

2444 words - 10 pages Jane Austen's Approach to the Character Emma in Pride and Prejudice 'Handsome, clever and rich' are the complimentary words Jane Austen lavishes upon Emma; accurate as they may be, they paint a picture contrary to the Emma portrayed during the first half of the novel. Set against the nineteenth century patriarchal society, structured by the privileges and constraints of money and status, both of which she acquires, a

The roles of pride and prejudice in Pride and Prejudice

1413 words - 6 pages Becoming an immediate success in the contemporary novel public in early nineteenth century, Pride and Prejudice has proved to be the most popular of Jane Austen's novels and remains a classic masterpiece two centuries later. The title itself describes the underlying theme of the book. Pride and prejudice, intimately related in the novel, serve as challenges to the cherished love story of Darcy and Elizabeth. It is interesting to see how these

The Influence of Regency England in Pride and Prejudice

1602 words - 6 pages themselves with lesser, frivolous pursuits, resulting in their efforts to either maintain or contend with propriety. It was “a truth universally acknowledged” (Austen 5) in Austen’s time that marriage yielded benefits of a practical nature. Indeed, several characters in Pride and Prejudice are fixated on the remunerations of an advantageous union. Mrs. Bennet serves as the character most hypnotized by this facet of Regency life. In fact, the

The Role of First Impressions in Pride and Prejudice

746 words - 3 pages from his wealthy background. He is also prejudiced against Elizabeth’s family. The above are only a few of the major examples of first impressions, prejudice and pride in the novel, as these themes recur throughout the story. Characters besides Darcy are also accused of having too much pride, such as Bingley's sisters, Miss Darcy, Lady Catherine and others. There are also discussions about pride between Elizabeth and

The Importance of Letters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

1583 words - 6 pages the daughters and hopefully marry one, which will make him feel better about his inheritance. It is seen as being extremely rude inviting himself, but he assumes it will be acceptable. He writes a brief and formal letter in a pompous tone to reinforce gossip. He uses words such as: ‘honoured’, ‘pleased’ and ‘grateful’ to grovel and show his respect, especially towards Lady Catherine de Bourgh who he thinks the world of and boasts about

The Importance of the Title in Pride and Prejudice

914 words - 4 pages others think of us" (pg 19). By the end of the novel, Elizabeth learns that having these prejudices against Darcy for one simple character trait, vanity (in which she ironically contained herself) was wrong, especially since it wasn't based on firsthand experience. Through Elizabeth, Austen conveys the message of how first impressions and judgments can quickly form false prejudices and uses the title, Pride and Prejudice to support this message.

The Different Types of Marriages Presented in Pride and Prejudice

1667 words - 7 pages feels…make the most of every half hour” to secure a good, rich husband, “ and there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses”. This coincides with Mr Collins in that he believes his “ Situation in life” and “connection with the family of de Bourgh” along with his general fortune he almost believes any young lady would find him irresistible. This was partially the case with Charlotte Lucas. No sooner has Mr Collins finished

The Complications of Courtship in Pride and Prejudice

1382 words - 6 pages characters motivation behind their actions. For example, Mr Darcy’s letter after the failed proposal reveals his true nature. Austen often criticises social customs and structure and is quite brutal in her descriptions of certain characters. For example, Mr Collins is depicted as ignorant and pompous, Lady Catherine epitomises class snobbery and Miss Bingley a snobbish, jealous character who bears inordinate distain for Elizabeth and her family. It is via these character’s that Austen is able to show her views of what she considers the worst qualities in people.

The Theme of Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

984 words - 4 pages The Theme of Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice One of the main themes in Pride And Prejudice is marriage. Throughout the novel, the author describes the various types of marriages and reasons behind them. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. The novel demonstrates how many women need to marry men they are not in love with simply

Similar Essays

"Pride And Prejudice" Discusses The Difference Between Lady Catherine And Elizabeth Bennet

583 words - 2 pages In Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine and Elizabeth Bennet are absolute opposites.Jane Austen portrays Elizabeth Bennet as an intelligent, independent, yet strong character, in a soft and feminine manner. The cruel and dominating personality traits are left for characters such as Lady Catherine. In Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine and Elizabeth Bennet are absolute opposites.Elizabeth is a realistic

Character Personality Types In Pride And Prejudice

1750 words - 7 pages in modern society have made Pride and Prejudice one of the most loved books of all time. We can use the Jung theory on personality types to classify each character. Jung states: “ …my first concern must be with the two general types I have termed introverted and extraverted. But, in addition, I shall also try to give a certain characterization of those special types whose particularity is due to the fact that his most differentiated function

Pride And Prejudice Essay: The Character Of Elizabeth

1922 words - 8 pages The Character of Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice     In her novel, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen portrays Elizabeth Bennet as "strong and intelligent, yet bewitching in a completely feminine way". Elizabeth's possession of these attributes: strength of character and moral integrity, great intelligence, and an attractive personality, make her an admirable person. Yet Elizabeth has faults, which makes her more human. Austen's portrayal

Character Analysis Of "Pride And Prejudice"

1094 words - 4 pages Pride and Prejudice The characters and general setting in Jane Austen's;" Pride and Prejudice", portray life in the rural society of the day. Austen is very clear in setting up the social classes of the characters and immediately portrays why the book is titled "Pride and Prejudice." Though the more specific example of Pride and Prejudice is that of Elizabeth and Darcy, and how they first view each other. There initial feelings towards one