Description of Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Lady Catherine de Bourgh:

Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice:

Physical Appearance:

  • Not explicitly described by Austen, but often imagined as tall, large woman with strong features that might have once been handsome.
  • Likely dresses according to her high social status, emphasizing formality and wealth.

Character Description and Analysis:

  • High-ranking and Domineering: Daughter of an earl and owner of Rosings Park, she embodies authority and expects unquestioning obedience.
  • Interfering and Controlling: Attempts to manipulate Elizabeth's choices, particularly regarding marriage, revealing her strong-willed and domineering nature.
  • Proud and Prejudiced: Her name ironically captures her own flaws – stubborn pride blinds her to her biases and misinterpretations of others.
  • Defender of Darcy's Family: Despite her flaws, she genuinely cares for Mr. Darcy and Georgiana, acting as a protective figure in their lives.
  • Contrast to Elizabeth: Their clashing personalities and approaches to life highlight themes of independence, self-respect, and overcoming prejudice.
  • Comic Relief: Her grand pronouncements and dramatic outbursts can also provide unintentional humor.

Character Mentions:

  • Introduced through Mr. Collins' exaggerated descriptions before Elizabeth encounters her at Rosings Park.
  • Plays a significant role in Elizabeth's journey, particularly through their tense interaction regarding Elizabeth's potential marriage to Mr. Darcy.
  • Serves as a symbol of the rigid social hierarchy and outdated expectations placed upon women in Regency England.


  • "Miss Elizabeth, I am most seriously displeased with you!" (Burst of anger upon Elizabeth refusing Darcy)
  • "Your arrogance, young lady, will surely bring you to bad consequence." (Warning to Elizabeth)
  • "Mr. Darcy is in every respect the most honourable gentleman in the world; he will never be induced to be untrue to his own principles." (Defending Darcy)

Additional Background:

  • Represents the conservative, traditional values of the upper class that Elizabeth rebels against.
  • Her character helps explore the societal pressures women faced in choosing marriage and navigating social expectations.
  • While not entirely likeable, her complexity and motivations contribute to the richness of the novel's social tapestry.

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