Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 30

Thread: Pride & Prejudice: why did Wickham go with Lydia?

  1. #1

    Pride & Prejudice: why did Wickham go with Lydia?

    I've just been reading Pride and Prejudice and I think the reason Wickham ran off with Lydia is out of revenge towards Lizzy.

    Just before Wickham left with his regiment for Brighton, where Lydia was also invited to stay by a family nearby where she lived - just before they both left, there was a big dinner at Lizzy's in Longbourn.

    This was just after Lizzy was made aware of Wickham's true nature from Darcy's letter. Wickham wasn't aware of Lizzy's knowledge. They were sitting together at the dinner table and Wickham discovered that Lizzy knew all about his deceit and that his manners were just a front.

    Lizzy treated him sarcastically. A short while later, we find Wickham has taken Lydia to London from Brighton.

    Another thing Darcy says about Wickham in his letter is that he's a vengeful person.

    So, Lizzy's harsh words, and Darcy saying he's vengeful is enough to feel a hint that, if not for Lizzy's words to Wickham, Wickham would've had no feelings of vengeance; and, seeing as he was already on good terms with the Bennet family, having dinners there, he may well have left Lydia alone in Brighton.

    Lizzy's playfully critical nature gets related in this way, I think, to Lydia's downfall.
    Last edited by Declan; 05-29-2012 at 03:39 PM.

  2. #2
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,606
    Is it possible that Wickham's revenge was also directed at Darcy, who eventually bribes him to marry Lydia? After all he knew Darcy very well, was on less than good terms, and had received a Darcy handout previously.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  3. #3
    That's a good point. :-) I'd definitely prefer if going with Lydia was against Darcy, not Lizzy, as that just seems more natural.

    But he doesn't know much about Lizzy and Darcy, as far as I can see, or does he from your own impression? If he doesn't know about Lizzy and Darcy, I'm not sure that he'd think Darcy would provide for him and Lydia.

    As Darcy said himself to Lizzy at the end, his main reason for managing Wickham's and Lydia's affair was his love for Elizabeth. Did Wickham know of this closeness between Darcy and Lizzy?

    The only place I think he could've found out was at the last dinner before he went to Brighton, where Lizzy, armed with her new knowledge about his character, with her shrewdness and wit got on the wrong side of him.

    But I don't know if that's enough for Wickham to know that she and Darcy were close. Maybe Darcy would've helped Wickham in any love match.

    In Mrs Gardiner's letter to Lizzy, where she explains that it was Darcy and not Mr Gardiner who provided for Wickham - Mrs Gardiner says Darcy said to her that the reason he's helping Wickham is because he, Darcy, felt responsible for Wickham misleading Lydia, as he didn't warn people about Wickham's character. He always kept his knowledge about the man covered up.

    But Mrs Gardiner herself doesn't believe this reason, as she says in the letter.

    Maybe it's left open and ambiguous. But there are two suggestive, though not conclusive, clues that he was revenging himself against Lizzy: Darcy, in his main letter to Lizzy, mentions he's vengeful, and Lizzy definitely offends him at the table - and you don't offend a vengeful man.

    And Darcy had to seek Wickham out, in London; had to persuade the landlady who was hiding Wickham to let him see him.

    If Wickham was doing it against Darcy, and thought Darcy would help, why be so difficult to find? Unless his act of revenge against Darcy was just blind and not a manipulative way of getting financial help? But surely Wickham wouldn't want financial help at the cost of being tied to a woman he doesn't want. Surely he'd prefer his roaming freedom impoverished as opposed to being maritally bound and with enough to live on?

    I don't know. It's not meant to be analyzed this much, for sure. Maybe just a few hints surrounding Wickham for and against. The story's an exploration of Lizzy's character, not Wickham's!
    Last edited by Declan; 05-30-2012 at 06:33 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,206

    Cool While your question isn't answred exactly ....

    read P. D. James' new mystery Death Comes to Pemberly. Not as good a mystery novel as some of James' other books, but James has captured the style of Jane Austen well enough to satisfy most Austen devotees. James doesn't answer all about Lydia's and Wickham's relationship, but she does explore it as well as Elizabeth's and Darcy's future life after their marriage.

  5. #5
    Gladys, while you're commenting on this thread, you might see I've started another thread around Austen's Emma, which I'm just starting to read.

    I see from a sub-forum on Austen that you didn't like that book.

    I read it in my early twenties and didn't like it. I thought it was dull. Then I read it in my late twenties, and thought all the dulness altered to a riot of irreverence.

    I'm reading it again now, after having just re-read Pride and Prejudice, and I'm hoping it'll be at least as good as the last time I read it.

    I hope you consider giving it another shot, if it's timely for you.

    I like Henry James as well. I haven't read the Golden Bowl, but I recently read Washington Square and the Turn of the Screw - for free on gutenberg.org - and I loved them, especially Washington Square. I only made it through two thirds of What Maisie Knew - she knew too much for me. He's a great writer, though. He's got some special craft going on there.
    Last edited by Declan; 05-30-2012 at 03:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,620
    I think that Wickham's running off with Lydia is primarily to bring shame on the Bennett family, thus ruining Elizabeth's chances of getting a good husband.

  7. #7
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,606
    Quote Originally Posted by Declan View Post
    I don't know. It's not meant to be analyzed this much, for sure.
    I, for one, enjoy such analysis and yours seems plausible. But it's quite a while since I read Pride and Prejudice. I'll follow your new Emma thread with interest. I found the humour in Emma to be crass slapstick, whereas I felt Austen laughing subtly at me for most of her earlier, fresher novel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Declan View Post
    I haven't read the Golden Bowl, but I recently read Washington Square and the Turn of the Screw - for free on gutenberg.org - and I loved them, especially Washington Square. I only made it through two thirds of What Maisie Knew - she knew too much for me.
    Turn of the Screw - like The Other House and The Awkward Age - did disappoint me, but a dozen other Henry James novels have been wonderful. I've almost finished The Princess Casamassima and am enjoying it.

    Washington Square is monumental although you'd never guess reading the novel sub-forum? A melodrama involving gold-digger Townsend encapsulated within the high drama of misunderstanding between father and daughter. The first page speaks tellingly of Dr. Sloper:

    He was a thoroughly honest man - honest in a degree of which he had perhaps lacked the opportunity to give the complete measure...

    What Maisie knew, the easiest and funniest of James' novels, begins with the divorce court assessment of mother Ida:

    The father, who, though bespattered from head to foot, had made good his case, was, in pursuance of this triumph, appointed to keep her: it was not so much that the mother's character had been more absolutely damaged as that the brilliancy of a lady's complexion (and this lady's, in court, was immensely remarked) might be more regarded as showing the spots.

    Our last view of Ida involves a James brilliancy. Until Maisie and Sir Claude depart for France, Ida may be said to have acted entirely without regard to anyone but herself. But before Mrs Wix crosses the Channel and Ida leaves for South Africa, Ida locates her sacked governess and gives her a ten pound note with an unexpected blessing. Speaking later of Ida's visit, Mrs Wix tells Maisie:

    "She wants me to have YOU!" Mrs. Wix declared.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  8. #8
    I thought the sentences in Maisie a lot harder to follow than in Washington Square. I think, if his storyline grabs you, it energizes the concentration to sort out all the sentences and do their beauty justice. So I guess it's just the story of Maisie didn't grab me.

    I thought Washington Square, the father and daughter are two tremendous characters. I think the father really did underestimate the daughter. The extent to which such a good person was fooled in love is very sad reading. Wonderful.

    James didn't write a preface to that novel. It was one of his works he was least satisfied with. The doctor has a wise sister in it - I forget her name - but she only plays a bit part. Maybe James felt annoyed with some loose ends with some of the characters. I don't know. I think it's a wonderful novel. Catherine's love story is profoundly interesting and moving and has important things to say to all unrequited loves the world over. Catherine is such an intense character.

  9. #9
    I will look forward to reading his Princess Cas. novel. I thought the Turn of the Screw very gripping.

    I don't agree with the whole debate about whether the ghosts were real. The most gripping moments in the story are due to the mind thinking, while reading, that there is a supernatural element to the story. And one can go along with that even if in real life one doesn't at all believe in the supernatural.

    I think when it comes to accomplished, thoughtful writing, there is an intolerance for supernatural subjects. When the intellectual bar is raised high, it seems the consequence is that the subject must be scientific or natural. That the only way the supernatural can be allowed in an intellectually rich story is if it in some way stands for something else; is a metaphor of some sort.

    I think this is laying down the law too prohibitively. The supernatural is a conceit that one can adopt in the playful reading of a novel. On opening the book, one just has to shed one's exacting real world beliefs.

    We can think: IF there was the supernatural, this is how we MIGHT behave.

    But the ghosts certainly exist in the story, for my money. I could not enjoy that story going along trying to figure things out to that great extent. A ghost is patently presented to my attention at pivotal scenes and it has a terrifying effect.

    For me then to overturn all that and to start questioning is the author doing something altogether different. That is simply too much subtlety. I would be disappointed in James, not his story, if that's what he was up to. And I'd be surprised that the story was seamless and successful despite his attempt to convey some other message. I'd be amazed he didn't mess his story up, considering he had these other, supposedly symbolic, intentions.

    I don't know how people enjoy the story not taking some of the main and most vivid, arresting moments at face value. To do otherwise, really, it seems to pointlessly complicate. It would take such an effort to figure out what's going on and even then, it would, at best, be a very dubious, subjective interpretation. It would be opening up the carcass of the novel and tearing it to shreds. Not the cleverest of readers are that much of a surgeon.

  10. #10
    It is true and right that the supernatural doesn't have much of a place among finer writing. The more thoughtful writing, which reflects reality, does more or less exclude the supernatural, for just the same reason that science is made up of physics, chemistry, and biology, but not magic; and made up of psychology but not horoscopes.

    But this doesn't mean the supernatural has no place. The fact that there's the occasional excellent story is proof that they have a small place, like Kubrick's The Shining. And what do people do, because it's a thoughtful film? They start questioning whether the hotel is really haunted or whether it's something more psychological.

    They certainly don't wonder about that with the Stephen King novel of The Shining. It's all taken at face value because it's a page turner and is under the radar of the intelligentsia!

    The ghosts in the Turn of the Screw, I don't mean to deny that they have an additional metaphorical value. I didn't mean they are to be taken at face value only. I meant, they are to be taken at face value firstly and naturally, not to be questioned, and then additional meanings that occur to the mind can be superadded.

    I've certainly no problem with that. Good literature always invites those extra layers and I'm sure that was quite within the remit of James's business when he was at his desk. But that's not the same as questioning that the ghosts exist in the story.
    Last edited by Declan; 05-31-2012 at 10:25 AM.

  11. #11
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,358
    He was looking for some quick and easy sex from a young and stupid girl. He didn't expect Darcy to have a personal interest (as nobody but Elizabeth seems to have known at this point publicly, to the point where Lady Catherine is furious to find out rumors later). He figured he could tarnish her reputation without doing any personal damage, but somehow Darcy had sway, both economically and probably personally, so much so that he ends up marrying her.

    The idea of sleeping with a young flirt around town was not new, that is why it is such a big scene, because events like that, the youngest daughter with a poor prospect-less man, could destroy family reputation. Darcy doesn't intervene out of love for Whickam, after all, he does it for two things, one, to gain favor for Elizabeth, secondly, with the idea that such an event may tarnish the whole family reputation, and therefore make him unable under any circumstance to marry or even hold society with Elizabeth.

  12. #12
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Saarburg, Germany
    Posts
    3,105
    And you can be sure that the sway consisted of a substantial amount of money (not that it helped much).

    That is the bog howler in the background: Darcy will not only have to live with Wickham as a so-called brother, but he has to bribe him in order to become that. Almost beg him to please not take his girl away

    I don't know whether he wanted to win Lizzie's favour that way, as he says so himself (her aunt Gardiner should not have told her), but then there was not really anyone who was able to pay such a presumably ghastly amount of money but Darcy.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'me ne se vide ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scne VII)

  13. #13
    I don't know what book you two were reading but your remarks don't use what's said in the book. You're just speaking sensationally. If you're not sincerely interested in the thread, no point in commenting.

  14. #14
    'Quick and easy sex' and 'sleeping with' - I mean, it's obvious you don't like the book to be using terms like that in speaking of it: terms which the book makes no use of, which Austen doesn't use in any of her books.

    Same for the other person's post, who went out of his or her way in another thread to say they would 'not' be reading the book under discussion for whatever reason. Clearly, both of you don't like the book. Find a book you do like and don't be misbehaving out of boredom on a nice thread.

    I thought I had too much time on my hands. My God! Always people eager to spoil!

  15. #15
    Darcy doesn't intervene out of love for Whickam, after all, he does it for two things, one, to gain favor for Elizabeth, secondly, with the idea that such an event may tarnish the whole family reputation, and therefore make him unable under any circumstance to marry or even hold society with Elizabeth.
    Also out of guilt for not having publicly disgraced Wickham over the affair with his younger sister. This I feel is the primary reason for Darcy's intervention, after all he did this in secret and there was no way of his knowing that this intervention would get back to Elizabeth or the Bennets.

    'Quick and easy sex' and 'sleeping with' - I mean, it's obvious you don't like the book to be using terms like that in speaking of it: terms which the book makes no use of, which Austen doesn't use in any of her books.

    Same for the other person's post, who went out of his or her way in another thread to say they would 'not' be reading the book under discussion for whatever reason. Clearly, both of you don't like the book. Find a book you do like and don't be misbehaving out of boredom on a nice thread.

    I thought I had too much time on my hands. My God! Always people eager to spoil!
    Easy tiger. I think you'll find that you are wrong in your rash assessment of the above posters.

    I don't think that Wickham ran off with Lydia in order to punish anybody at all. I think Wickham ran off with Lydia for a bit of fun and nothing more. Wickham wasn't bitter towards Elizabeth at all if you take into account their later meetings and he had no gripe against the Bennets..
    Last edited by LitNetIsGreat; 05-31-2012 at 03:47 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Which Pride & Prejudice Adaptation was best?
    By LadyW in forum Pride and Prejudice
    Replies: 65
    Last Post: 12-31-2014, 08:46 PM
  2. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-08-2013, 04:39 AM
  3. Answer to american school exam - pride and prejudice
    By katirosee in forum Pride and Prejudice
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-26-2010, 02:19 AM
  4. My essay on Pride and Prejudice:
    By Stanislaw in forum Pride and Prejudice
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-11-2010, 02:49 PM
  5. The Importance of "Propriety" in "pride and Prejudice" >> Please HELP
    By adiga_5ijabz in forum Pride and Prejudice
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 01-21-2009, 08:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •