Saturday, November 6, 2010

Persons and Places in "Pride and Prejudice"

1. Mr. Bennet
He is the head of the Bennet family living in the village of Longbourn in the County of Hertfordshire. He is described by the novelist as an odd mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice. Of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth is Mr. Bennet's favourite. Mr. Bennet's favourite pastime is to poke fun at his wife whom he has found to be a very ignorant and foolish woman.

2. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
He is a very rich young man and a close friend of Mr. Charles Bingley who comes to occupy Netherfield Park. He falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet, though in the beginning he forms a rather unfavourable impression about her physical appearance. His most striking trait is pride which renders him a most unpleasant and disagreeable man in the entire social circle in which he moves. However, he is cured of this defect of pride by Elizabeth whom he eventually marries. (The name "Fitzwilliam" is common to both Mr. Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam who appears much later in the story).
3. Mr. Charles Bingley
He is also a rich young man. He takes the palatial house called Netherfield Park on rent and begins to live there, with his sister Miss Bingley as his housekeeper. He falls in love with Jane Bennet at his very first meeting with her, and she fully responds to his love. After a setback to the development of his love-affair, he does ultimately succeed in marrying this girl.
4. Mr. William Collins
He is a clergyman, and the rector of the parish of Hunsford. He is the man to whom the entire property of Mr. Bennet is entailed because Mr. Bennet has no male issue. He is a very pompous and conceited man but, at the same time, a great flatterer. After having been rejected by Elizabeth, he marries Miss Charlotte Lucas.
5. Mr. George Wickham
He is a young and handsome officer in the militia regiment which is at first stationed near the town of Meryton and subsequently shifted to a site near the town of Brighton. He is a crooked fellow who manages to create a favourable impression upon Elizabeth in the beginning. Eventually he elopes with Mr. Bennet's youngest daughter, Lydia, but marries her only after certain conditions laid down by him have been fulfilled. He may be described as the villain in the story.
6. Mr. Denny
He too is an officer in the militia regiment referred to above. He is a friend of Mr. Wickham; and he is the man who supplies some useful information about Mr. Wickham's nature and plans.
7. Colonel Fitzwilliam
He is a cousin of Mr. Darcy. The name "Fitzwilliam", which is common to both these men, should not confuse us regarding the separate identity of each. It is from her talk with this man that Elizabeth obtains the information that it was Mr. Darcy who had initially obstructed Mr. Bingley's marriage to her sister Jane.
8. Sir William Lucas
He was at first a businessman in the town of Meryton; but, having been knighted, he gave up both his business and his residence in Meryton, and shifted to a cottage in the countryside, with his whole family consisting of his wife and several children, among them Charlotte and Maria. He is constantly occupied with a sense of his own importance, but he never fails to show the utmost courtesy to all those with whom he comes into contact.
9. Mr. Gardiner
He is a brother of Mrs. Bennet's. He is living in London with his wife and is a respectable trader. He is a very decent and dignified man, unlike his sister, Mrs. Bennet, and also unlike his other sister, Mrs. Philips.
10. Colonel Forster
He is the colonel of the militia regiment in which Mr. Wickham and Mr. Denny are commissioned officers. He feels greatly perturbed on being informed that Lydia Bennet has eloped with Mr. Wickham; and he tries his utmost to trace the runaways.
11. Mr. Hurst
He is the husband of one of Mr. Bingley's sisters. He is described as a man who is interested only in eating, drinking, and sleeping. He is thus a comic character.
12. Mr. Philips
He is the husband of Mrs. Bennet's sister, and therefore a brother-in-law of Mr. Bennet. Mr. Philips had originally been a clerk to Mrs. Bennet's father, but had taken over the business at the death of his employer. He hardly plays any role in the novel, but he does have social contacts with the officers of the militia regiment and often invites them to dinner at his residence in Meryton.
1. Mrs. Bennet
She is the wife of Mr. Bennet, and the mother of five daughters. She is one of the well-known comic characters in English fiction. The marriages of her daughters are an obsession with her.
2. Miss Jane Bennet
She is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. She falls in love with Mr. Bingley and, after a setback to her love-affair with him, ultimately gets married to him.
3. Miss Elizabeth Bennet
She may be regarded as the heroine of the novel. She is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. It is because of one of the marked tendencies of her nature that the word "prejudice" occurs in the title of the novel. She eventually marries Mr. Darcy whom she initially dislikes and afterwards hates. She consents to marry him when his pride has melted away and when her own prejudice against him has disappeared.
4. Miss Mary Bennet
She is the third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. She is a studious girl, though not very intelligent. She is a half-pathetic and half-comic figure.
5. Miss Catherine (Kitty) Bennet
She is the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. She is excessively interested in the officers of the militia regiment stationed near the town of Meryton. She is a silly girl. Mary and Kitty are the only daughters of the Bennet family who remain unmarried throughout the novel.
6. Miss Lydia Bennet
She is the youngest of the Bennet girls. She too is interested very much in the militia officers and, in fact, encourages Kitty in the same direction. She loves a gay life and subsequently elopes with Mr. Wickham with whom she has fallen in love. Mr. Wickham does marry her ultimately, though not without making a good deal of fuss.
7. Miss Caroline Bingley
She is the unmarried sister of Mr. Charles Bingley, and she keeps the house for him when he occupies Netherfield Park. She is interested in marrying Mr. Darcy who, however, pays little attention to her. She is a malicious girl who is always scheming against Elizabeth because of Mr. Darcy's liking for her (Elizabeth).
8. Mrs. Hurst
She is the married sister of Mr. Charles Bingley, and she too lives at Netherfield Park with her husband. She has no independence of mind and is constantly echoing the opinions and views of her sister, Miss Bingley.
9. Lady Lucas
She is the wife of Sir William Lucas. She is described as a good kind of woman. Being a neighbour of Mrs. Bennet, she is on visiting terms with her.
10. Mrs. Charlotte Lucas
She is the eldest daughter of Sir William and Lady Lucas. She agrees to marry Mr. Collins after he has been rejected by Elizabeth Bennet. As Mr. Collins's wife, she begins to live at Hunsford where Mr. Collins is the rector of the parish.
11. Mrs. Philips
She is a sister of Mrs. Bennet, and is as talkative and vulgar as Mrs. Bennet. She lives in the town of Meryton and receives frequent visits from her nieces, particularly from Kitty and Lydia who come to her to gather information about the officers of the militia regiment.
12. Mrs. Reynolds
She is the housekeeper at Pemberley House of which Mr. Darcy is the owner. She is full of praise for her employer, Mr. Darcy.
13. Lady Catherine de Bourgh
She is a widow lady owning a large estate and a country house called Rosings Park where she lives with her daughter. She is a very proud and arrogant kind of woman.
14. Miss Ann de Bourgh
She is the daughter of Lady Catherine. She is a pale, sickly girl who is half-pathetic and half-comic.
15. Mrs. Jenkinson
She is the governess to Miss de Bourgh. Her chiel responsibility therefore is to take good care of that girl who, being sickly, requires special attention.
16. Miss Georgiana Darcy
She is the sister of Mr. Darcy and the special responsibility of that young man. She is under the joint guardianship of Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
17. Mrs. Forster
She is the wife of Colonel Forster. It is she who invites Lydia Bennet to stay with her at Brighton; and it is from Brighton that Lydia elopes with Mr. Wickham.
18. Mrs. Gardiner
She is the wife of Mr. Gardiner and, therefore, Mrs. Bennet's sister-in-law. She is a well-wisher of the Bennet family, and she has a great affection for all her nieces, particularly for Elizabeth. It is in her and her husband's company that Elizabeth goes to Derbyshire and visits Pemberley House.
1. Herfordshire, Kent, and Derbyshire
These are the names of English Counties. (A County is the name used for a division of England for purposes of local government. The word "shire" means the same thing). England is divided into about forty Counties of which the best-known are Norfolk, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Kent, and Hertfordshire.
2. Meryton
The name of a town in the County of Hertfordshire. Here live Mr. and Mrs. Philips; and here also lived Sir William Lucas with his family at one time.
3. Longbourn
The name of a village in the County of Derbyshire. This village is situated at a distance of one mile from the town of Meryton. The name "Longbourn" is also used in the novel for the house in which the Bennet family lives.
4. Lucas Lodge
The name given by Sir Lucas to his house in the country. Lucas Lodge is also situated at a distance of a mile from the town of Meryton. This house is within a walking distance of Longbourn. That is why the Bennet and the Lucas families are on intimate terms with each other.
5. Netherfield Park
The name of a palatial house which is taken by Mr. Charles Bingley on rent, and where he begins to live, with his sister Miss Bingley as his housekeeper. Mr. and Mrs. Hurst also begin to live there, while Mr. Darcy is a frequent visitor at this house. Netherfield Park is situated at a distance of three miles from Longbourn which is the residence of the Bennet family.
6. Hunsford
The name of a village in the County of Kent. Here lives Mr. Collins, the rector, in his parsonage. Charlotte also begins to live here after getting married to Mr. Collins. Close by is the residence of Lady Catherine deBourgh. It is at Hunsford that Mr. Darcy first proposes marriage to Elizabeth and is rejected by her.
7. Lambton
The name of a town in the County of Derbyshire. To this town, come Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner in the company of Elizabeth to spend their holidays.
8. Pemberley House
The name of the country residence of Mr. Darcy and his sister Georgiana. This palatial building, famous as a tourist attraction, is situated close to the town of Lambton.
9. Gretna Green
 The name of a town in Scotland, It is barely mentioned in the novel. This was a place which, in those days, served as a refuge for runaway lovers who could get married there without a licence and without having to undergo the usual formalities.
10. Brighton
The name of a famous English city. It is a health and holiday resort. It is from here that Lydia runs away with Mr. Wickham.
Note: The word "assembly" occurs several times in the novel. It is used here to mean an informal social gathering at which people belonging to the same neighbourhood gather for gossip and dancing. Similarly, the word "ball" is also used a number of times in the novel. It means a dance in which couples participate. At a ball, a man has to choose a woman as his partner. She may agree to dance with him or may politely refuse. A man may have arranged a partner for himself in advance, in which case the lady concerned has to keep her commitment.
Note: The word "entail" also needs to be explained. The whole property of Mr. Bennet is entailed to Mr. Collins who is a cousin of Mr. Bennet. Mr. Bennet has five daughters but no son. According to the laws of the time, girls could not inherit the property or estate of their fathers. In the absence of a male issue, a man's property was entailed to his nearest male relative. In the case of Mr. Bennet, his property would pass to Mr. Collins at Mr. Bennet's death. Mr. Bennet's daughters would thus get nothing at their father's death. Even Mr. Bennet's wife would get nothing from his property.

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