January Classics Club Meme Question

Friday, January 10, 2014

Which character from classic literature is most important or influential to you and why? Or which character do you most despise and why? 
There are dozens of characters I love that have influenced me, but I'm going to answer the second half of the question. One character that I've always despised is Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She's not an evil character by any means. She is just a silly creature, a product of her environment. But at the same time her actions and priorities have a huge influence on her daughters and their choices.

Every time I read P&P I want to smack her. Mr. Bennet is at fault for some of his daughters' freedoms, but never to the same extent as his wife. She is over indulgent with Lydia and in turn Lydia makes horrible life decisions. Then she pretends like Lydia has done nothing wrong after she gets married, justifying Lydia's actions in the eyes of her other younger daughters.

She makes a fool of herself and her family whenever she's at a community event or party. Mr. Darcy judges her for it and it influences his view of the whole Bennet family. She antagonizes her husband and older daughters.

She also teaches her daughters that the most important thing in a relationship is finding someone who is wealthy. She threatens to never speak to Elizabeth again after she turns down Mr. Collins' marriage proposal. She doesn't care what would actually be best for her daughters as long as they have money.

She's a beautifully drawn character, one that represented a huge part of the society Jane Austen lived in, but she's hard to stomach!


Ellie said...

I think Mrs Bennet completely demonstrates Austen's talent for creating characters. She certainly drives me up the wall!

Heather said...

Oh, I can't STAND Mrs. Bennet. I've wanted to smack her when reading the book or watching one of the movies. What a silly, irritating character. Just as Jane Austen intended. I wonder how many Mrs. Bennet's Austen actually knew. I bet there were a lot.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean, but I do find Mrs. Bennett amusing, so I can't say that I despise her.
My #1 most despised character is Winky the house elf. She is so annoying it makes me cringe just to think about her. But Harry Potter isn't classic literature (yet).
So, I'll go with Uriah Heep. The way he creeps on Agnes is horrible! I knew a guy (an adult), when I was in high school, who was just like that - ugh.

Ruth @ with freedom and books said...

You are right. She was an awful creature, Mrs. Bennet.

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

She is quite horrid. Good post!

I actually answered this meme with an Austen character too: John Thorpe. I can kind of just roll my eyes and ignore Mrs. Bennett, but John Thorpe fills me with disgust, indignation, and rage.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Ellie - I can understand Darcy not wanting her for a mother-in-law.

Heather - I can imagine her laughing as she wrote the character, picture many of the society women she knew.

abibliophilesstyle - Uriah is so awful! That guy gave me the creeps. Winky always struck me as such a such victim of her environment.

Ruth - Ugh, imagine having her as your mother!

Hamlette - That's a great one too! Austen is so good.