This chapter analyzes “character” in Pride and Prejudice (1813). Reading Pride and Prejudice, one assesses, ranks, and judges the characters in the novel as they assess, rank, and judge one another in order to make the most important choices of their lives. The reader therefore is in the position of the neighbors, who also look on and moralize from their example. By the fourth chapter of the novel, where Jane and Elizabeth Bennet discuss Bingley's personality, it is clear that a man has at least two kinds or dimensions of character, one immediately apparent to others, the other not. The first dimension is manner and reputation, on which the plot of Pride and Prejudice depends, specifically on Mr. Wickham's falsehoods about Mr. Darcy's character; on the truths that Mr. Darcy, and then Elizabeth and Jane withhold about Wickham; and near the end, on the “character” that Darcy's housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, gives of her master.
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