Elizabeth Bennet’s Family Tree in Pride and Prejudice | Jane Austen Characters Study Guide
by Ellie Dashwood on May 14, 2022
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Do you ever find yourself confused by the Bennets and all their relatives in Pride and Prejudice? For example, how is Elizabeth Bennet related to Mr. Collins? Well, wonder no longer! In this post, we'll be breaking down who Elizabeth's relatives are and how they are related to each other. We'll also discuss the Lucas family.
Breakdown of the Bennet Family Tree
Mr. Bennet's Side of the Family
Mr. Bennet is the father of the Bennet family. We meet him in chapter one of Pride and Prejudice. He is described as an odd "mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humor, reserve, and caprice." He and Mrs. Bennet have been married for over twenty years. He is currently a life tenant of the Longbourn estate.
The main relative we meet on Mr. Bennet's side of the family is Mr. Collins. While the Bennet girls call him "cousin," he is not their first cousin. Rather, the book calls him "a distant relation." We see another hint of this distance because Mr. Bennet also calls Mr. Collins "his cousin" instead of his nephew.
More than likely, Mr. Collins descends from the same male line as Mr. Bennet. That is why he is next in line to inherit the family estate at Longbourn through an entail. I discuss the entail in detail in my videos Why is Mr. Collins Inheriting Longbourn? and Could Mr. Collins Not Inherit Longbourn?
Mr. Collins may have a different last name than his cousins because either his or their ancestors changed their name. There were multiple reasons a family might change their last name. I talk more about that in my video Did Captain Wentworth Really Buy Kellynch?
Mrs. Bennet's Side of the Family
Mrs. Bennet is the mother of the Bennet family. In chapter one, we learn that she is "a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news." I talk more about how Mrs. Bennet married up socially in my video Is the Bennet Family Poor?
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner (Grandparents)
Mrs. Bennet's father was an attorney in Meryton, a town near the Longbourn estate.
Mr. and Mrs. Philips
Mrs. Philips is Mrs. Bennet's sister. She lives in the nearby town of Meryton. The Bennet girls visit her regularly to meet new people and learn the local gossip. She married her father's law clerk, Mr. Philips.
Mr. Philips now works as an attorney in Meryton, having taken over from his father-in-law.
According to Austen family lore, Mr. Philip's law clerk goes on to marry his niece, Mary Bennet.
Edward Gardiner and Mrs. Gardiner
"Uncle Gardiner" is a brother of Mrs. Bennet. He's a tradesman that lives with his wife and children in an unfashionable area of London called Cheapside.
Mrs. Gardiner is his wife. She spent some of her youth in Derbyshire, near Mr. Darcy's Pemberley estate.
The Gardiners have several children. Though they were written out of the script in the Pride and Prejudice (2005) movie adaptation.
I discuss the Gardiners' social class situation in the video How to Marry Up and Social Climb.
Jane is the eldest Bennet daughter at twenty-two years old. She is the most beautiful and sweetest tempered of the sisters.
Elizabeth is about twenty years old. She is also called "Lizzy" and "Eliza." She is the main heroine of Pride and Prejudice.
Mary is the middle child in the Bennet family. She is not considered as beautiful as her sisters and tries to make up for it through study and accomplishments. I discuss Mary's role in the story as an important foil to her sisters in my video Why Mary Bennet is Essential in Pride and Prejudice.
Catherine's nickname is "Kitty." She's best friends with her younger sister Lydia. Elizabeth says of her, "She will follow wherever Lydia leads."
Lydia is the youngest daughter at just fifteen years old. She is also the tallest of the sisters and the favorite of her mother. She has a fine complexion, good-humored countenance, high animal spirits, and natural self-consequence.
Sir William and Lady Lucas
Sir William Lucas used to be a tradesman in Meryton. He also served as a mayor. After being knighted by the King, he moved his family to a house in the countryside near Longbourn. He renamed said house, "Lucas Lodge."
Charlotte is the eldest child of Sir William and Lady Lucas. She is described as "a sensible, intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven." She is a good friend of Elizabeth Bennet.
Charlotte's younger sister is a good-humored girl but also "empty-headed." She dances with Mr. Bingley at a ball and travels with Elizabeth Bennet on her visit to Rosings.
Other Lucas Children
The Lucas family has other children besides Charlotte and Maria, including at least two sons.