Mrs. Bennet (née Gardiner) is a main character in Pride and Prejudice. Together with her husband, Mr. Bennet, she has five daughters: Jane Bennet Bingley, Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, Mary Bennet, Catherine Bennet, and Lydia Bennet Wickham. She has two siblings, Mrs. Philips and Mr. Gardiner, and is the sister-in-law of Mrs. Gardiner and the paternal aunt of their children. She is related to William Collins through marriage.
Mrs. Bennet was born to a well-to-do family. She has two siblings, Mrs. Phillips—who married an attorney from Meryton; and Edward Gardiner—who is in a respectable line of trade in London. Her father left her with a settlement and dowry of £4,000, which, although a fortune, would not be enough to ameliorate the deficiency of her husband's fortune.
Marriage and MotherhoodEdit
Mrs. Bennet is the matriarch of the Bennet family; having no sons, she is obsessed with marrying off her daughters as means of providing support for herself-and them-following her husband's death. She is never given a proper name in the novel but it can be assumed that her name would have been Jane, seeing as Jane Austen frequently named eldest daughters after their mothers. However in "Pride and Prejudice 2" (not one of Jane Austen's own works) she is given the name Fanny, which since then has been used in a number of fanfictions. One may assume that her maiden name is Gardiner, as that is her brother's last name; however, for the purpose of fanfiction a writer who wanted or needed Mrs. Bennet to have a different maiden name for some reason could make Mr. Gardiner a half or stepbrother.
Her age, as many older woman want, is unknown, yet at the beginning of the novel she is old enough to have been married 23 years. Her excitement at having her youngest married at sixteen indicates she was probably older than that when she married, but not much older, as her youth was one of the main things that attracted Mr. Bennet to her once upon a time. She resides at Longbourn with her family, and will until her husband's death--after that she'll most likely have moved in with one of her daughters.
She was quite beautiful in her youth and possibly still is as in Volume 1 Chapter 1 Mr. Bennet says she is as beautiful as any of her daughters, while Mr. Bennet is teasing her in the exchange, but the comment seems unlikely if she had not retained at least some of her looks.
It would be unkind to say that Mrs. Bennet is lacking in intelligence; however, she is described as being "a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper" who fancies herself nervous when she is discontented. She is also a loving and caring mother, despite her obvious favoritism of Jane. Her sole purpose appears to be to marry off each of her daughters to well-to-do men.
- Mr. Bennet & Mrs. Bennet
- William Collins (cousin through marriage)
- Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner (brother and sister-in-law)
- The Gardiner Children (nieces and nephews)
- Mrs. Philips (sister)