Michael NiesetHailey Figas

Wickham

1. Personlality Traits

A. Part One

  • "His appearance was greatly in his favor; he had all the best part of beauty-- a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address. The introduction was followed up on his side by a happy readiness of conversation--a readiness at the same time perfectly correct and unassuming..." (p 73).
    • This shows his physical appearance and attractiveness to all the women, he seems to be a very important figure in society. Not only is Wickham physically appealing, but socially enticing as well.
  • "The officers of the --shire were in general a very creditable, gentleman-like set, and the best part of them were of the present party; but Mr. Wickham was as far beyond them all in person, countenance, air, and walk as they were superior to the broad-faced, stuffy Uncle Phillips, breathing port wine, who followed them into the room." (p 76).
    • Mr. Wickham is a model for men of high society, he is superior to everyone else socially and in appearance.
  • "Society, I own, is necessary to me. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear solitude. I must have employment and society." (p 78).
    • This quote from Wickham shows his true personality because he hints towards some sorrow in his past and he expresses his need for interaction with others through employment and society in order to be happy. He believes in the importance of occupying a distinguished status in order to obtain happiness.
  • "There could be no conversation in the noise of Mrs. Phillips' supper party, but his manners recommended him to everybody. Whatever he said was well said; and whatever he did, done gracefully. Elizabeth went away with her head full of him. She could think of nothing but Mr. Wickham, and of what he had told her, all the way home;" (p 81).
    • He is a very interesting man and Elizabeth is falling for him, he is the center of attention to everyone. He is well-poised which relates to his likability.
  • "I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley's being imposed on than that Mr. Wickham should invent such a history of himself as he gave me last night; names, facts, everything, mentioned without ceremony. If it not be so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. Besides, there was truth in his looks."
"It is difficult, indeed--it is distressing. One does not know what to think." (p 84).
    • This passage is a conversation between Elizabeth and Jane discussing whether or not Mr. Wickham's story he told Elizabeth concerning Mr. Darcy and his own history was really true. He may not be very truthful, but his looks make him appear trustworthy and honest. Despite the slight sense of doubt in the overall goodness of his character, it is hard to make a definite judgement of Wickham due to his amiable appearance and personality. (This is exemplifed in Elizabeth's feelings and attitude toward him.)

B. Part Two

  • "His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over-- he was the admirer of some one else... The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable," (135).
    • This expresses Wickham's ability to quickly change the primary direction of his affection and attention simply due to the higher monetary worth of another woman. Wickham is a "gold digger". His charm and "good" personality cause him to come off as an amiable man of good character but in reality these traits mask his true motives.
  • "Her [Lady Catherine's] air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of recieving them such as to make her visitors forget their rank. She was not rendered formidable by silence; but whatever she said was spoken in so authoritative a tone as marked her self-importance, and brought Mr. Wickham immediately to Elizabeth's mind; and, from the observation of the day altogether, she believed Lady Catherine to be exactly what he represented," (146).
    • Although this quote may appear to be a description of Lady Catherine, it also functions as a description of Wickham's personailty traits by drawing similarities between the two characters. From this, one can conclude that Wickham is a man or pride and arrogance. By saying that Lady Catherine is "exactly what he respresented" implies the idea that Wickham's outward appearance is that of an individual with a high-status and nobility but on the inside he possesses undesirable qualities such as self-importance.
  • "Mr. Wickham's chief object was, unquestionably, my sister's fortune, which is thirty thousand pounds; but I cannont help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me was a strong inducement. His revenge would have been completed indeed,"(179-180).
    • Wickham is a selfish man with foul motives of fortune a revenge. He lacks concern for others when it comes to bettering his social and economic status within society.
  • "His countenance, voice, and manner had established him at once in the possession of every virtue. She tried to recollect some instance of goodness, some distinguished trait of integrity or benevolence, that might rescue him from the attacks of Mr. Darcy; or at least, by the predominance of virtue, atone for those casual errors under which she would endeavor to class what Mr. Darcy had described as the idleness and vice of many years' continuance. She could see him instantly before her, in every charm of air and address, but she could remember no more substantial good than the general approbation of the neighborhood, and the regard which social powers had gained him in the mess," (182-183).
    • Although Wickham appeared to be entirely virtuous due to the manner in which he presented himself there is more to him than what meets the eye. His genuine personality is overshadowed by his conduct. Upon first impression, many people, including Elizabeth, deem Wickham as a wholesome guy and their view of him remains consistent with this first impression. Because of this, it is hard for Elizabeht to accept the fact that Wickham isn't as good as he is made out to be.
  • "She saw the delicacy of putting himself forward as he had done, and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct. She remembered that he had boasted of having no fear of seeing Mr. Darcy-- that Mr. Darcy might leave the country, but that he should stand his ground; yet he had avoided the Netherfield ball the very next week. She remembered, also, that till the Netherfield family had quitted the country he had told his story to no one but herself, but that after their removal it had been everywhere discussed; that he had then no reserves, no scruples, in sinking Mr. Darcy's character, though he had assured her that respect for the father would always prevent his exposing the son," (183).
    • This passage reveals three more negative traits of Wickham: boastfulness, deceptiveness, and hypocritical.

c. Part Three

  • "Her aunt now called her [Elizabeth] to look at a picture. She approached it, and saw the likeness of Mr. Wickham suspended, among several other miniatures, over the mantelpiece...The housekeeper came forward, and told them it was the picture of a young gentleman, the son of her late master's steward, who had been brought up by him at his own expense. "He is gone into the army," she added; "but i am afraid he has turned out very wild," (214).
    • This passage demonstrates the idea some people who have known Wickham for awhile view him in their minds. He is described as "wild" which is not a good thing in his case.
  • "To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, "he [Darcy] is not so handsome as Wickham; or, rather, he has not Wickham's countenance, for his features are perfectly good. But how came you to tell us that he was so disagreeable?" (222).
    • This quote shows some appearance versus reality being used because the description of Mrs. Gardiner makes Wickham appear to be a good gentleman, but she wonders if he is really how he appears to be when she asks Elizabeth why she has negative feelings towards him now.
  • "With respect to Wickham, the travelers soon found that he was not held there in much estimation; for, though the chief of his concerns with the son of his patron were imperfectly understood, it was yet a well-known fact that on his quitting Derbyshire he had left many debts behind him, which Mr. Darcy afterward discharged," (226).
    • This short passage shows that Mr. Wickham is declining in the eyes of those around him, and he is dishonest enough to leave Derbyshire without paying off all his debts to people. He is known to be a bad guy in reality now.
  • "I grieve to find, however, that Colonel Forster is not disposed to depend upon their marriage; he shook his head when I expressed my hopes, and said he fears Wickham is not a man to be trusted," (235).
    • This quote is said within Jane's letter to Elizabeth regarding the sudden disappearance of Lydia to elope with Wickham. People are worried because he would not marry her due to her poor economic situation, and they are questioning why he took her away. He is not trusted by his superior in the military, Colonel Forster, which demonstrates his true characteristic of untrustworthiness.
  • "And we all know that Wickham has every charm of person and address that can captivate a woman," (240).
    - This little quote demonstrates his appearance of a good man and his tendency to be well liked by everybody solely because of his good looks.


    WHAT ELSE ABOUT HIS CHARACTER WITH LYDIA----

2. Stereotype


Wickham is portrayed as a stereotypical member of the military and a smooth-talking lady's man. He posesses exceptional conduct and grace when associating with others. He is extremely likable, both in his presentation and personality and he appears to be a true gentleman. His attractive qualities are endless for he possesses both masculinity and a good-nature, so it seems. A sense of pride can also be seen in Wickham which is revelaed in his conversation with Elizabeth in which he disucsses the late Mr. Darcy's adoration of him. He says that Darcy's dislike of him is attributed "in some measure of jealousy" and "his father's uncommon attachment to me [Wickham] irritated him," (78).
  • Austen views this stereotype as false for Wickham's flawless image is questioned due to the revelation of a past contoversy between him and Darcy. This raises judgement and concern which some women acknowledge, such as Jane, and others dismiss, like Elizabeth. At this point in the novel, it is seems as though Wickham is truthful in his words and demeanor.



3. Sociogram: Wickham's Relationships with Others


Part One:

Elizabeth---> Wickham: She falls for Mr. Wickham and is very much in love with him. She talks with him constantly when they are together and they gossip about others such as Darcy. She wants to marry him and even rejects a proposal from Mr. Collins because of her desire for Wickham in marriage. She trusts him despite what others may think of his integrity.



Jane----> Wickham: Jane does not trust Mr. Wickham on the topic of his true past and his issues with Mr. Darcy. She raises concern to Elizabeth because she feels as if he may have made up some of his history.

Wickham----> Darcy: Apparently, in the past Darcy has been an enemy to Wickham despite the close relationship he shared with Darcy's father. The two avoid each other and are hesitant to even speak of one another. Wickham goes as far as to fabricate a reason to be out of town so as to miss the ball at Netherfield. Wickham wishes to avoid Darcy at all costs.
The rest of the characters----> Wickham: Everybody seems to share a feeling of attraction and liking of Mr. Wickham and he is the focus of the characters' attention when he is around, and sometimes even when his is absent. He is well liked among his peers.

Part Two:


Wickham---> Elizabeth: Still pays her special attention and seems to be attracted to her.

Elizabeth--->Wickham: She still likes him and maintains her dislike for Darcy because of what he did to Wickham. She defends him when others speak of his possible lack of integrity concerning his true past. She does not interact with him much in this section due to the fact that she is away staying with the Collinses. She rejects Darcy's proposal partly due to the fact that he was cruel to Wickham in the past. But even when she receives Darcy's letter that explains what Wickham's past really is, she has trouble believing it because she likes him so much. She comes to believe it may be true however and doubts Wickham's honesty. She is glad he will no longer have to see him because the soldiers are being stationed elsewhere. They say goodbye cordially but know that they may never want to see each other again.

Mrs. Gardiner--->Wickham: She dislikes Wickham and goes as far as to make sure Elizabeth will not ever consider marrying him. She doesnt like how he almost eloped with Darcy's sister because of the large fortune she was about to inherit. They call him a "mercenary" meaning he hunts for a woman with a fortune.

Darcy--->Wickham: He reveals Wickham's true past and expresses the reasons behind his negative feelings towards him. He does not want Elizabeth to let her friendship with Wickham to interfere with his attempt to marry her.

Wickham--->Mary King: He has no real feelings towards her but the reader learns he attempted to elope with her only to gain the thirty thousand pounds she was to come into because of her father's recent death.

Wickham--->Darcy: Wickham gets nervous towards the end of the section because he learns that Elizabeth had spent much time with Darcy, and he fears that the jig might be up and he will be caught in the lies about his past. He tries to talk some smack about Darcy to Elizabeth but she knows the truth and is unwilling to allow him to speak on such matters.

Wickham--->Lydia & Kitty: He, along with the other officers, have been interacting with the two girls since they constantly visit and flirt with them. Lydia delivers Elizabeth some news about Wickham not trying to marry Mary King anymore and the Elizabeth is able to instead because he is safe.

Part Three:
Wickham--->Lydia: Although Wickham elopes with Lydia, it is said that he does not truly love her and it is clear that Lydia's affection towards him is much stronger than his affection towards her. It was the sum of money that enticed Wickham to go through with the marriage.
Lydia--->Wickham: Lydia is madly in love with Wickham and finds him to be the most agreeable man around. She is very enthusiastic about being wed to such a charming indiviudal. She views Wickham as flawless and outwardly speaks about the "love" that they share but this love primarily appears to be infatuation. As mentioned above, the affection between Lydia and Wickham is not equal for Lydia's love of him vastly overshadows his love for her.
LET'S TALK ABOUT ABOVE -- WHY AUSTEN WRITE THAT -- REASON FOR MARRYING -- FOIL/JUXTAPOSITION
Elizabeth--->Wickham: Elizabeth understands Wickham for who he really is and she is no longer duped by his alluring personality. She detests him and attempts to avoid him whenever possible. Despite her dislike for him, she tries to suppress her true feelings for him due to their familial ties. For example, Elizabeth briefly quarrels with Wickham but soon seeks a resolution of this conflict by declaring that they "are brother and sister" (278).

Wickham--->Elizabeth: Wickham interacts with Elizabeth with cordiality and politeness. He is seemingly ignorant of Elizabeth's true feelings towards him.

Jane--->Wickham: Like Elizabeth, Jane also understands Wickham's genuine nature and finds him to be disagreeable; however, due to Jane's soft and reserved personality, Jane's dislike towards Wickham is not as severe as Elizabeths. Though upset with the infamy of the scandal and the crookedness of her sister's new husband, Jane silences these feelings more than Elizabeth and accepts them for she understands that the situation is irreversible. (Note: Jane, who generally does not think badly upon anyone, thinks ill of Wickham which goes to show the wretchedness of his character.)

Mrs. Bennet--->Wickham: Upon first hearing news of the elopement between Wickham and Lydia, she is deeply upest but once the marriage is settled, Mrs. Bennet is ecstatic and finds Wickham to be ever so charming.

Mr. Bennet--->Wickham: Mr. Bennet's feelings towards Wickham are rooted in the relationship between Wickham and Lydia. His disapproval of this relationship reflects his disapproval of Wickham's character. The reader can get an understanding of his feelings towards him by observing his reaction to the marriage versus his wife's. Mrs. Bennet was overly excited while Mr. Bennet remained stern and grave.


Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner--->Wickham: The Gardiners are not particularly fond of Wickham and recognize the dishonestly and fallibility in his character.


Mr. Darcy--->Wickham: Darcy's dislike for Wickham is still noticealbe; however, his detest is much more reserved and gentleman-like when compared to Wickham's.




4. Neoclassical Characteristics

Section One:

  • "Mr. Darcy... suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger, and Elizabeth happening to see the countenance of both as they looked at each others, was all astonishment at the effect of the meeting. Both changed color--one looked white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a few moments, touched his hat--a salutation which Mr. Darcy, just deigned to return," (73).
    • This passage displays the awkward encounter between Darcy and Wickham, both of whom possess negative feelings toward the other. Despite the uncomfortable nature of these meager interactions, Wickham does not act out obtrusively thus displaying restraint of emotion and the importance of appearing orderly and civilized. Wickham could have opted to be brash and confrontational, but instead he simply acknowledged Darcy's presence in a most insignificant and conservative fashion.
  • "Society, I own, is necessary to me. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear solitude. I must have employment and society. A military life is not what I was intended for, but circumstances have now made it eligible. The Church ought to have been my profession-- I was brought up for the Church; and I should at this time have been in possession of a most valuable living had it pleased the gentleman we were speaking of just now," 78).
    • Wickham expresses his need for society thus emphasizing the importance of order. Additionally, Wickham recognizes the need of improvement by making note of his military status in contrast to a desirable position in the Church which he longs to hold. Wickham describes himself as "a disappointed man" but say he needs "employment and society" which reflects not only his need for order but also his desire to improve.

Section Two:

  • "Well, but now for my news; it is about dear Wickham; too good for the waiter, is it not? There is no danger of Wickham's marrying Mary King--there's for you!..."But I hope there is no strong attachment on either side," said Jane. "I am sure there is not on his. I will answer for it, he never cared three straws about her;" (196).
    • This passage shows Wickham's restraint of emotion because in his desire to elope with Mary King, Darcy's younger sister, he was only in it for the fortune she is supposed to inherit, he showed no emotion of love towards her at all and apparently he did not care about her at all.
  • "But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune." No--what should he? If it were not allowable for him to gain my affection because I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about, and who was equally poor?" "But there seems an indelicacy in directing his attentions toward her so soon after this event." "A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe," (139).
    • This passage deals with Wickham's sudden attraction to Darcy's sister once she was the heiress of a large fortune, which seems very distasteful and shady because anyone could clearly see that he was just going after her for the money. However, Elizabeth reconciles his lack of decorum, a key part of neoclassical characteristics, because he is in distressed circumstances due to Darcy's mistreatment of him. I believe this is satire because in reality its not okay for a person to try to marry someone solely for their fortune, and I think Austen is trying to make that point by using Wickham.

Section Three:

  • "Wickham's affection for Lydia was just what Elizabeth had expected to find it-- not equal to Lydia's for him. He had scarcely needed her present observation to be satisfied, from the reason of things, that their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love rather than by his; and she would have wondered why, without violently caring for her, he chose to elope with her at all, had she not felt certain that his flight was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances; and if that were the case, he was not the young man to resist an opportunity of having a companion," (269).
    • Although Wickham may defy Neoclassical characteristics by breaking the rules by eloping, he displays Neoclassical characteristic by demonstrating restraint of emotion as described in this passage. His affection towards Lyida in not visible which leads to the questioning of the genuinity of his love.

  • An exerpt from the letter from Mr. Gardiner to Mr. Bennet in regards to the marriage of Lydia and Wickham: "They are not married, nor can I find there was any intention of being so; but if you are willing to perform the engagements which I have ventured to make on your side, I hope it will not be long before they are. All that is required of you is to assure to your daughter, by settlement, her equal share of the five thousand pounds secured among your children after the decease of yourself and my sister; and, moreover, to enter into an engagement of allowing her, during your life, one hundred pounds per annum. These are conditions which, considering everything, I had no hesitation in complying with, as far as I thought myself privileged, for you," (256).
    • This passage displays the Neoclassical characteristics of stressing order and logic and maintaining reason. Although seemingly corrupt as it is, Wickham married Lydia due to the sum of money he recieved for doing so. If it wasn't for the money then Wickham would have had no purpose of being wed to such a woman. Due to his rank in society and his lack of inheritance, it was logical for Wickham to marry a woman of wealth. Marrying a woman with no money would have been viewed as a foolish mistake and simply illogical.


5. Comparison to Another Character

OK-- GOOD


  • Meredith Blake:

    • Meredith Blake from the The Parent Trap (1998) is a beautiful, young woman of poise. She comes off as charming and likable to most individuals she encounters. In reality, Meredith is a unpleasant person with corrupt intentions. She plans to marry Nick, who is a much older gentlemen, in order to obtain his fortune and make it part of her own. Meredith and Wickham possess striking similarities in that they both are attractive and enticing individuals who persue marriage in order to obtain wealth. For example, Wickham eloped with Miss Darcy in an attempt to inherit her wealth, and he succeeded in marrying Lydia due the the sum of money he received in doing so. Innitially, both Meredith and Wickham seem to be perfect in every sense of the word for they have the perfect personality, conduct, and appearance. (The motif of Apperance vs. Reality plays a role in defining both characters.) Although they appear to be these ideal representation of good people, they are actually quite the opposite. Furthermore, both Meredith and Wickham are connected with individuals who understand their true character. In Meredith's case, Nick's daughter Annie recognizes the evil in her beauty. Similarly, Elizabeth, Jane, and Darcy understand Wickham's deceitful nature. Upon first impression, Meredith and Wickham are both percieved to be virtuous and amiable by their acquaintances; however, in both scenarios, their true character is revealed and consequently the attitude towards them alter. In the end, Meredith is viewed as a malicious wretch and Wickahm is nothing but a dishonest and distasteful man, both of whom lack a sense of decency and dignity.