Villains in Novels

In Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is considered by most readers as comical. However, she is also the villain. Haughty and arrogant, she looks down her nose at anyone who doesn’t measure up to her aristocratic standards.

When she hears rumors that her nephew, Mr. Darcy, is engaged to Elizabeth Bennet, she sets out in a huff to confront Elizabeth at her home (Langbourn). When she arrives, she imperiously bids Elizabeth to walk with her in the garden. She demands to know whether these rumors are true.

Elizabeth tells her: no, there is no engagement. Her ladyship is pleased.

“And will you promise never to become engaged to him?”

But feisty Elizabeth is more than a match for her; she’s had enough of her ladyship’s interference and tells her in no uncertain terms that who she becomes engaged to is her business and no one else’s. She will make no such promise.

Lady Catherine is incensed, telling Elizabeth that by marrying her nephew she would be quitting the sphere in which she had been brought up. “On the contrary,” Elizabeth replies, “Mr. Darcy is a gentleman. I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal.”

“True,” says her ladyship, “but who are your uncles and aunts?”

Whatever her connections are, Elizabeth ripostes, if Mr. Darcy does not object to them, why should Lady Catherine object to them?

“Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter,” says Lady Catherine.

“If that is so,” Elizabeth replies, “you can have no reason to suppose that he would make an offer to me.”

Elizabeth walks back to the house, Lady Catherine following behind her–still ranting.

Before entering her carriage, she delivers a devastating and comical one-liner. “I am seriously displeased!”

Have you ever had someone try to break up you and a significant other? Comment below with your thoughts and experiences!

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