George Wickham

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  • Topic: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet
  • Pages : 2 (505 words )
  • Download(s) : 597
  • Published : September 4, 2011
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In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a villain is quickly discovered. George Wickham, a middle class gentleman, takes on the role of a villain as his character exposes him to be an arrogant young man. The villainy of his character serves to brace the concept of pride and prejudice within the novel. Furthermore, Austen increases the meaning of the novel by creating in Wickham a foil for the upper-class Mr. Darcy.

George Wickham is first introduced to the reader as a man of “fine countenance”. His good looks and fine manner win him an easy acceptance as he becomes “the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned”. From the very beginning George Wickham acts as a foil to the noble Mr. Darcy, who ignores all company and becomes notorious for his overconfidence and insolence. However, the good and the evil in the characters are soon overturned as we find out the villainous nature of Wickham. A selfish, money-loving man of sham manners, Wickham often leaves nothing but enemies and debts as traces behind him. His attempt to elope with Gerorgiana Darcy reveals a break in his manners but indicate the true extant of his villainy as it exposes itself towards the end of the novel. The further exposure of Wickham’s character was his affectations to Mary King, a girl with a fortune behind her, and his lies concerning Mr. Darcy’s cruel character. The villainy is finally brought home when Wickham elopes with Lydia Bennet, a girl he had had no intention of marrying until offered a bribe by Mr. Darcy. Wickham’s villainy revolves around his selfishness and irresponsibility where money matters may be concerned. He cares for neither affection nor reputation.

Throughout the novel, Wickham develops the meaning of the work by representing the concept of impulsive prejudice, all the while acting as a foil for Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth Bennett, a friend of both young men, falls into the trap of hasty prejudice when she befriends Wickham, while criticizing Darcy...
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