Minor Characters in Pride and Prejudice: Charlotte's Influence on Elizabeth

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Alyssa Vermillion

The Foils of Elizabeth: Highlighting Her Prejudice

The minor characters in Pride and Prejudice are very important because of the tone and humor they add to the novel, but most importantly, the minor characters give insight to the main characters, especially to Elizabeth. No minor character gives more insight into Elizabeth’s than Charlotte, demonstrating that Elizabeth is narrow minded and quick to judge.

One of the main insights into Elizabeth’s character is the need to show more affection towards men. Charlotte believes that a woman should show more affection towards men initially, even if they don’t feel that way, in order to show their interest in men. Elizabeth starkly contrasts this, mainly because she does not understand the reason behind it. Not only do their views contrast, but their motives behind these views are juxtaposed as well. Charlotte is driven by the need to be supported by a man and the desire to not burden her parents any longer. On the other hand, Elizabeth believes that marriage should be for the love of another, not based upon dowry or arrangements. Because of the contrast between both women’s ideals, the relationships between Darcy and Collins are understandable. The reason Elizabeth turned Mr. Collins away was because she did not love him and the reason Charlotte accepted his proposal was because she wanted that stability. Elizabeth fell for Mr. Darcy in the end based off of his actions as a person, not for his stability and financial well-being.

Charlotte also helps to highlight the different types of marriage, mostly highlighting the most common reason for marriage. While Elizabeth believes in marrying to be happy, Charlotte, and even Mr. Collins, marries because they have to. Charlotte, not wanting to be a burden on her parents and not wanting to be an old maid must marry soon. Mr. Collins is under the same predicament, in which he has to marry for his clergyman position. This is why the two...
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