Q’ 4 Write a note on the character and role of Lady Catherine in ’Pride and Prejudice’.

Her Pride :

Lady Catherine is a tall, large woman with stmngly-marked features, which might once have been handsome. She represents the aristocratic pride. She is so obsessed with self-importance that everybody around her seems to her infinitely inferior, both in social status and mental level. She is so accustomed to adulation and flattery that she cannot tolerate any opposition. When Elizabeth refuses to be cowed down by her overbearing inquisitiveness and answers all her queries with composed dignity, it is a new experience to her.

Her Interfering Nature :

Lady Catherine, with great condescension, arrogates to herself the right to regulate the lives of the people in her parish. She occasionally visits the Collinses, and nothing that 18 passing in the room during the Visits escapes her observation

A Comic Creation:

Lady Catherine 15 celebrated as a comic creation, a magnificently observed portrait of a domineering, arrogant, interfering: woman, obsessed by self-importance. We hear of her from Mr Collins long before we meet her; and one of her chief characteristics is revealed when Mr. Collins informs Mr. Bennet that she had condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, provided he chose with discretion. It is ironical, therefore that her attempt to prevent the match between Darcy and Elizabeth ensures that it comes about. As Elizabeth remarks :V ”Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for she loves to be of use.” But besides the part she plays in the action of the novel, her character has direct relevance to the theme of pride. She has in an extreme form the faults with which Darcy is intially endowed. Consequently she is an important influence on the development of Darcy himself. The contemplation of her insufferable self-importance, her absurd assumption of superiority on grounds of mere rank and wealth, causes Darcy to examine his attitude towards himself and towards Elizabeth’s family afresh. Lady Catherine invites Elizabeth to come to Rosings every day, and play on the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson’s rooms. She would be in a nobody’s way, in that part of the house. But later Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill-brecding. It shows her character. For Lady Catherine’s stupidity and vulgarity may differ in kind from those of Mrs. Bennet but they show her to be. no more amiable or respectable. In fact, Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine are complementary; for in fawning on her as he does, he shares the false values, she attaches to rank and wealth. Lady Catherine is a caricature of all that is worst in rank and privilege. As Elizabeth notes, nothing was beneath this Lady’s attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others.




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