Description of Caroline Bingley

Caroline Bingley: "His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion."

Caroline is an attractive, unmarried woman with a very handsome ₤20,000 inheritance from her father. Being both very conscious and anxious to forget that their money was earned in trade, she aspires to the higher levels of aristocracy through marriage to Darcy and looks down upon those still associated with business! Her behavior, as well as that of her married sister Louisa, is arrogant, offensive, mean, jealous, cunning and false. She has money and position but no formed character.

In contrast to Elizabeth who always speaks her mind frankly without respect to social status, Caroline adopts a very servile behavior with Darcy in her effort to please and endear herself to him. She views Elizabeth as threatening competition and takes every possible occasion to point out her failings to Darcy. Yet for all her meanness and jealousy, Caroline becomes an active agent for bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together. It is her invitation to Jane that brings Elizabeth to Netherfield and places her in close contact with Darcy for several days. It is she who warns Elizabeth about Wickham’s false character. It is her constant criticism of Elizabeth that compels Darcy to openly admit, perhaps even to himself, his admiration for Elizabeth’s beauty. It is her reference to the militia in the presence of Elizabeth, Darcy and Georgiana during their meeting at Pemberley that increases the sympathy between all three. At the Lucas’ party, it is she who facetiously offers to congratulate Darcy on his upcoming marriage to Elizabeth. It is the constant contrast between Elizabeth’s genuine, intelligent behavior and Caroline’s false meanness that places Elizabeth’s personality in full and praise-worthy relief. What could possibly compel Caroline to play this role? Subconsciously, her desire to please Darcy is so strong that she is even willing to please him by furthering his interest in Elizabeth.

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