Which is the Most Important Supporting Character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"?

Essay by lizzyrose89High School, 10th gradeA, May 2004

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I think that Mr Wickham is the most important supporting character in Pride and Prejudice, because he is central to both Lizzy and Darcy's changes of attitude. Lizzy misjudges Mr Wickham, and in her discovery of his 'true nature' she finds that she has also been wrong about Darcy.

The novel Pride and Prejudice has many characters, and each brings their own richness and substance, or lack of said substance, to the story. Obviously the most important character is Miss Elizabeth Bennet, as the entire premise of the story is how she misjudges certain people, and how she comes to change her prejudices whilst falling in love, before living happily ever after. The object of most of these misjudgements is the other main character, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy. Pride and Prejudice revolves around the relationship between Lizzy and Darcy, and how they both have to change their attitudes to life before being able to find 'marital bliss' together.

Wickham brings about a lot of trouble, and it is through this that both Lizzy and Darcy see their errors, and can begin to change. Darcy keeps, when Wickham arrives in Hertfordshire, the secret of his 'character'. Darcy is too proud to relate what Wickham almost did to his sister, and rather than feeling this to be ill-judged, at the time he felt it was a matter of dignity, and 'regulated' pride to keep his sister's shame unknown. When Lydia and Wickham run away to London together Lizzy's 'distress' shows Darcy how wrong he was to keep Wickham's secret, and that his pride was mistaken. He could have 'prevented' what was causing the woman he loves so much upset. It is from here that he really begins to change his character. His behaviour to Lizzy and the Gardiners at...