How Successfully and by What Methods Does Austen Present the Characters and the Marriage of the Bennets in Chapters 1 & 2?

533 Words3 Pages
From the first few lines of conversation between the Bennets, Austen shows the reader that theirs is not a happy marriage, nor a marriage of equality. Their marriage was based on a need for money and social status not a marriage reached through love or even any such feeling towards one another. As well as it not being a loving relationship, Mr and Mrs Bennet have completely different personalities. Mr Bennet seems to be an intellectual man who likes to sit quietly and read, whereas Mrs Bennet gives the impression of being slightly eccentric and focuses solely on getting her daughters married. Austen tells us that Mr Bennet was “a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic, humour, reserve and caprice”, where Mrs Bennet is “a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper”. This obvious mismatch is clearly presented throughout the first two chapters of Pride and Prejudice. The first conversation between the two begins with Mrs Bennet speaking of the new owner of Netherfield Park and Mr Bennet subsequently either giving his one syllable answer or none at all, this shows his disinterest not only in the conversation topic but in whatever it is his wife has to say. It is proven when Mr Bennet says ‘you want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it’ that he would rather not have to listen to her but he will tolerate it if he has no choice in the matter. Throughout the first chapter, Mr Bennet toys with his wife by feigning and then dropping interest on the subject of Netherfields owner, when in fact later we realise he has known of Mr Bingley all along. This is an example used by Austen to show the reader that Mr Bennet uses his wife as his source of entertainment in the sense that he tends to laugh at her a lot. During the conversation, he sarcastically suggests that Mrs Bennet is just as pretty as any of their daughters and could just as easily
Open Document