Human Science
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Jane succeeds in winning a husband whose character is of the same depth and intensity as her own. Charles Bingley is equally mild, unformed and guided by external standards of social propriety. He exhibits a fair amount of intelligence in his exchanges with Darcy and Eliza, but prides himself on being casual, careless and carefree. He is of the nouveau riche with lesser wealth than Darcy but good character, which make him eligible to be Darcy’s friend and possible brother-in-law. His ₤100,000 inheritance over-fulfills all his aspirations in life. There is no accomplishment that remains for him but a beautiful wife and pleasant entertainment.

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Apart from these, Bingley is a man of few and very mild convictions, whose easiness of temper and want of proper resolution impair his worth in Eliza’s eyes. Bingley lacks Darcy’s pride or self-importance. He values Jane’s beauty and her good nature, which matches his own temperament. He feels free to pursue his interest in Jane only after his two sisters have given their approval, but his ultimate standard of reference is Darcy. He submits to Darcy’s objections about the marriage. It is Darcy’s authority that ultimately determine Bingley’s choice in life, supported by Jane’s physical appearance and pleasant temperament. Even after learning that Darcy had concealed from him the truth about Jane’s presence in London and after Darcy encourages him to revive the relationship with her, Bingley still wants Darcy’s active approval before proposing to Jane. His emotions are completely social. Contrast that with Eliza’s indifference to Lady Catherine’s active disapproval of her marriage to Darcy. It is difficult to imagine Eliza seeking anyone’s approval for what she passionately wants and believes right for her.

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P&P refers to the Oxford World's Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1980