Pride And Prejudice


Jane Austen?s Pride and Prejudice portrays its characters in many different lights. There is a wide range of backgrounds and personalities of the people within the novel and also a wide range of character development. The use of flat characters in Pride and Prejudice is primarily to show consequences of having a flat, undeveloped personality such as leading a dull and boring life, being miserable throughout marriage, not getting what is desired from life, and being a social outcast.
Getting married was a top priority for most every character in Pride and Prejudice. It was no surprise when Mr. Collins asked Charlotte to be his wife she accepted without hesitation. Charlotte had never shown any signs of love or sweet emotion towards him and she was never really interested in any prospect of marriage. Therefore, we are led to believe that Charlotte married Mr. Collins just to be married. There was no love shared prior to their marriage and after they were married, they led a pretty dull life and had generally the same schedule day after day. This couples development is limited by phasing them out of the novel. There is not much said about the Collins' after they marry. Austen?s use of Mr. Collins and Charlotte as flat characters is to show that marrying just to be married can lead to an unhappy life and to show the importance of marrying for love.
Although the Collins' lead a dull life, Mr. Bennet has the opportunity not to. There is plenty to keep him occupied with having five daughters and possibilities of marriage proposals. This, however, is not a concern of Mr. Bennet. First, he never seemed interested in pursuing a fatherly role towards his daughters. This is evident when Lydia turns out like she does and marries Wickham. Secondly, he is not interested in being a husband to Mrs. Bennet. There is no affection shown towards Mrs. Bennet at any point throughout the novel. In this way he is also not being a good role model for his children. In spite of the fact that Mr. Bennet is very inattentive to the rest of his family, there is one thing that he seems to care about. He loves to be in his library. It is perhaps his hideout from having to admit to himself and others all that he has not done to make a happier and different life for himself. Mr. Bennet has given up on his life, his daughters, his marriage, and himself. He is very undeveloped as a character and has no desire to become anything other than what he already is. Austen limits Mr. Bennet?s development for a very good reason; to show the possible consequences of selling yourself short and not taking any initiative to start over in life and enjoy what could possibly arise if change occurred.
Similar to her father and the Collins', Mary is an undeveloped character with a very flat personality. Austen portrays Mary as a loner and moral imperfection. Never is she seen attending balls or socializing as her sisters are and she shows no interest in much besides reading for the majority of each day. Although the rest of the Bennet girls seem to have numerous friends, Mary seems to have not even one and never spends any time with her sisters. There have also been no men interested in Mary and will continue to not be due to her unsociable behavior. This can and will affect her happiness later in life because being married is an important part of the times and society that she lives in. Mary will not live a very exciting and prosperous life if she continues to be a flat character. Intellectually speaking, she has a lot to offer such as musical talent and a wide array of knowledge. However, being unsociable, she has never been in any situation to show off her good traits. The point Jane Austen is making by using Mary as a flat character is that nothing can be gained by sitting around and being dull and unsociable. Life and everything that is exciting will pass you by before getting what is desired if no action is taken to enjoy it.
Jane Austen?s use of flat characters is very important in Pride and Prejudice. Flat characters portray images of characters leading dull and boring lives, being miserable in