Posted by Laura Wallace on November 20, 1997 at 12:49:31:
In response to Mr. Bennett, written by RachelE on November 20, 1997 at 02:30:17
Does it not seem to anyone else that this is his way of keeping his sanity? He married a silly woman (though probably quite beautiful in her prime) and discovered too late that beauty is not enough to be happy. Sarcasm and wit, which does seem *mostly* knowingly blunted, are ways to keep from becoming bitter and withdrawn. I loved the P&P1 adaptation of him. Elizabeth, too, seems to be a great help to him with her natural sense of refinement and understanding of her family.
This is also my view. I feel very sorry for Mr. Bennet; in his place, I would probably go batty. He and Elizabeth are much alike, and obviously she gets her sense of the ridiculous from him. Consider that she is essentially his only kindred spirit in a house full of very silly, mostly stupid women. I would hide in my library too and only emerge to make an occasional wisecrack.
I really enjoyed the P&P2 interpretation of him. Until I saw that I didn't quite appreciate his misery or his motivations in saying the things he says, or his weakness.
I don't think it's fair to say that he is unfeeling or that he does not properly care for his family. On the contrary, although he teases them, he is very much looking out for their welfare. He visits Mr. Bingley, he allows Mr. Collins to court his daughters (and although he draws the line at subjecting Lizzy's intellect to lifetime companionship with Mr. Collins, I think he would have consented if Mr. Collins had chosen Mary--and indeed I've always wondered why JA didn't pair those two off), he offers the carriage for Jane's first visit to Netherfield, etc. He knows, as well as his wife does, that his daughters must make good matches or they will dwindle into poor old maids like Miss Bates in Emma.
I really like Mr. Bennet. He is one of my favorite characters in this book.
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