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Sunday, January 18

Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Least Likable Friend

Poor Charlotte Collins. We do not see much happiness for her in her married future and voted overwhelmingly that happiness would elude her in her married state. We now turn our thoughts to two individuals, who though minor characters, leave an indelible impression upon the reader: Caroline Bingley and Lucy Steele. Both women would dampen a girlfriend get-together in a heartbeat. Who do you like least? - The haughty Miss Bingley or the opportunistic Ms. Steele?
Least Likable Friend

Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice
Caroline is as haughty as a character can get, and rather stupid if she thinks she can attract a man by denigrating her competition.Her criticism of Elizabeth is relentless as she tried to sabotage Darcy's attraction to her. In contrasting Caroline's narrow-minded attitude with Mr. Darcy's growing awareness, Jane lets us see that he is a superior character. He is able to recognize Elizabeth's finer qualities despite her "inferior" upbringing, while Caroline cannot. Tied to convention Caroline cannot see merit in anyone who does not share her social background and conventional graces, although she does seem to be genuinely interested in Miss Jane Bennet.To give her her due, she did try to warn Elizabeth about Mr. Wickham, but by this time she had lost all credibility with Lizzy. Sweet Jane took longer to recognize Caroline's lack of genuine friendship and false warmth.

Lucy Steele, Sense and Sensibility
Sly, cunning, and opportunistic, Lucy makes the most of her lack of resources by taking advantage of her pretty face and figure, and superficially charming manners. She snags Edward Ferrars during a weak moment, and like a badger will not let him go. Much to her chagrin, Edward demonstrates true character and sticks by her when his mother disinherits him for their secret engagement. Lucy only wanted him for his money and title, and she ditches him for his brother at the first opportunity. She purposely pursued Elinor as a friend, letting her in on her secret engagement to Edward, knowing full well how much the news must have hurt Elinor. Lucy's sly cat and mouse game added to Elinor's suffering, telling the reader that Lucy was bad through and through. She never received her comeuppance, and we were sad to see her rewarded for her bad behavior by marrying Robert. free polls
Jane Austen Character Throwdown
Caroline Bingley Lucy Steele


nigel said...

Lucy Steele is a bitch because she tries to disguise her schemeing with the pretense of sweetness!

Bingley's sister is just a mean cow.

Vic said...

Woa, Nigel! Say it like it is.

Sibylle said...

I agree with Nigel. Lucy's cunning when Caroline isn't smart enough to hide her true motives. Lucy would be the worst friend because it would take longer to discover her.

sandyquill said...

I voted for Lucy. Whereas Caroline is not a charming woman, one has the sense in the novel that she endeavors to be pleasant with those whom she sees as her equals or her betters (and of whom she is not jealous!)

Lucy, though, is entirely self-serving and doesn't even treat her sister well. At all.

katie t said...

of FOR SURE lucy steele!!!

...and i can think of worse words for her than that!

Lynn said...

Lucy is a steam rolling little gold digger who will lie, cheat and use anyone to marry money and have a comfortabe life.

Caroline is simply a rich snob with nothing better to do than tear down her inferiors ( and that is what ultimately helps Darcy to actually fall for Elizabeth ) Her main aim is not only to secure a wife of rank and fortune for her brother Charles ( also that he have a fine estate to settle on), but to snag a superior prize for herself as well: Darcy !