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Charlotte Lucas (Pride and Prejudice)

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Charlotte is strong, steady, and good. She genuinely cares for Eliza and takes joy in the prospect of Eliza’s high advancement through marriage with Darcy. Charlotte is a mental character with maturity, poise, penetrating observation and superior understanding. Her father’s life in trade, politics and high society has provided her a wide exposure that amplifies her understanding. Her younger sister Maria and her father are empty headed.

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Charlotte understands her social position and prospects objectively and accepts Collins as the best she can expect. Because of her plain appearance and quiet manners, she is least taken note of by others. She can be attracted to a man who is universally despised, simply because she is one who is universally neglected. In this regard, Charlotte can be fully confident of her husband’s loyalty.

Charlotte has the intelligence and insight to perceive the danger that Bingley will fail to perceive Jane’s attraction to him due to her lack of expressiveness. She perceives Darcy’s glances at Eliza are expressions of interest in her. After marrying Collins, she becomes instrumental in bringing Eliza and Darcy together at Hunsford, which expresses her affection and goodwill for Eliza. Charlotte’s solicitude for Eliza is at least partially explained by her very ordinary and mercenary social values. She has no faith in romantic love or emotional relationship in marriage. Personally she aspires only for security through marriage and looks up to all those with money and status. She finds Lady Catherinea very respectable, sensible woman.”[1] Charlotte’s close friendship with Eliza was socially elevating and pleasing to her. Aid to Eliza’s social advancement is service to the social values she cherishes.



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Footnotes

  1. P&P, p.141

P&P refers to the Oxford World's Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1980

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