**Spoilers for Pride and Prejudice. Enter at your own risk, also you really need to read it if you haven’t. Its like 200 years old, whats taking you so long?**
Lets celebrate Mother’s Day by talking about my favorite fictional match-making mama: Mrs Bennet.
I know! I really adore this character. Sure she is brass and uncouth. She interferes in her children’s life. She doesn’t know when to be quiet and can be quite silly when it comes to officers and indulging her younger daughters. She has a flare for the dramatics. Heck she even tries to force her daughter to marry an insufferable ass.
But she is still one of my favorite mothers, because she does it all out of love for her family. They live in a time where women can’t own property and she has 5 daughters who will be out on the street when her husband dies. And being that their eldest is over 20 it will happen very soon. Mr. Bennet’s estate goes to a distant cousin (see above ass) when he dies and they will have nothing. Even Mary’s piano bench belongs to Mr. Collins.
The above quote was added into the 2005 movie and I it beautifully sums up Mrs. Bennet’s motivation. She is a character that often get portrayed as a mean, stupid or a villain in fanfic or P&P variations. When really all she is a woman panicking to make sure her children don’t end up homeless or worse. She is driven by a fierce protection of her daughters. Does she go about it the right way? Maybe not. But she is also wise to their situation, every reason Darcy gives Lizzie as to why he shouldn’t love her Mrs Bennet is well aware of. She does what she can offset the lack of dowry and poor connections to trade.
I might be projecting but I like to think she is as fervent as she is due to a little guilt. It was her job to have a son to preserve this estate that Mr. Bennet’s family has owned for 200 years. She’s doing the best she can with a disinterested husband and a lack of education both in manners and in general. She married into the gentry, her family was in trade and (gasp!) law! What she was teaching her daughters was all she knew, and probably how she managed to catch the eye of a gentleman. She knew men generally didn’t marry below their status, so she knew it was foolish of Lizzie to turn down Mr. Collin’s offer. With a situation like hers there was very little chance she would actually be proposed to again.
Happy Mothers Day Mrs Bennet! You’re the best!