When I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the second time, I fully expected Mr. Darcy ultimately be my favorite character. Everyone and their mother seems to love Mr. Darcy in that infatuated, fangirl-ish way, but I found that my admiration was sparked by a different P&P man: Mr. Bennet. Here’s why:
1. He’s bookish and spends most of his days in his library.
2. He puts up with Mrs. Bennet, who is insane.
3. He has a great sense of humor.
4. He is wiser than he seems.
“I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage … My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.”
– Mr. Bennet to Lizzy
While reading P&P, I couldn’t help feeling as though Mr. Bennet was one of the few sane characters, along with Lizzy. He is realistic, logical, and far less concerned with pleasing others than are his wife and daughters. His calm demeanor is emphasized even more by the ridiculous nature of Mrs. Bennet, who is rather exhausting to listen to by the end of the novel.
Is Mr. Bennet flawless? Absolutely not. The exorbitant amount of time he spends in his library should probably be spent with his family instead, and it seems as though his relationships with his daughters and wife could certainly be improved. However, I think he’s a character worth taking a second glance at. After living in the shadows of the other characters, perhaps it’s finally time for Mr. Bennet to step into the spotlight.
Who is your favorite character in Pride and Prejudice? What do you think of Mr. Bennet? Let me know in the comments section below!