Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice question

Does Lydia have any redeeming characteristics?
Colleen Browne Colleen Oct 25, 2014 10:36AM
Does Lydia have any redeeming qualities?

I think something that many people forget is that Lydia was 15-16 in the novel. If a modern day 15 year old was seduced by an older man, he would be arrested and she would be seen as a victim. Most teenaged girls are silly and boy-crazy. Sure it can be annoying, but most of them grow out of it. It's no reason to hate them. Don't forget that Georgiana was also nearly his victim at around the same age. Georgiana was a sensible, moral, and well-brought up girl and even she fell for his facade. Heck, even Lizzie fell for it! I don't think it's fair to see Lydia as an immoral girl. She's just the extremely naive victim of a predatory sociopath.

Also, don't forget how neglectful her parents were in her upbringing. Her mother taught her to throw herself at men because marrying was her sole purpose in life. Her father ignored her, except to criticize. Her older sisters did their best, but they were her sisters, not her parents. She was allowed to run wild. Her mother gave in to her every whim. How could she not be a boy-crazy, selfish, indulgent girl under those circumstances?

If anything, I feel sorry for her. The poor girl never had a chance.

F 25x33
Emma Thanks guys! @ Ria notice I said most not all. And yes, both in my experience as a former teen girl and as a twenty-something who is often around teen ...more
Jan 23, 2015 09:10AM · flag

I really don't like Lydia but I think you could say that she's affectionate, lively, bubbly, vivacious, persistent, resilient and definitely determined. All of these qualities would be great if they were applied to something other than flirting with men and her determination to make herself ridiculous. I think it must get to you a little bit if your father continually called you silly and ridiculous and her mother seemed only want to get rid of her to the first suitable man. Surely that would make her a bit desperate for any human affection. But I really do dislike her.

I do not think she was selfish, just thoughtless and flighty. She was always looking for the good time and never even imagined consequences. She dearly loved her family, and seemed awed whenever they disapproved of her thoughtless actions; however, she definitely was self-centered and needed that one 'growing moment' that she was sort of robbed of in the story. Her marriage to a known cad and the public humiliation that should have followed would have hit her like a ton of bricks. However, Mr. Darcy couldn't see that moment happen to another child. Was he wrong or right in his actions? I honestly cannot hold a stable position there.

Despite her age, I find it impossible to believe she did not know full well the consequences of running off with a man she was not going to marry, to herself and her family. Had she shown any kind of remorse for what she put them through at the end it would have redeemed her a bit, but she didn't. So no, I don't like her.

She's lively, I'll give her that.

That Lizzie loves her despite everything is more chargeable to a character flaw in Lizzie than a redemptive feature in Lydia, although I'm not so sure I'd say that Lizzie "loves" her so much as feels a sisterly obligation due to the sensibilities of the era. After all, we still get hammered with the, "but she/he's your sister/brother/mother/father, so you love them anyway, right," crap today. Even so, Lizzie doesn't seem to LIKE Lydia.

Lydia's a manipulative, self-centered piece of work.

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Emma Your comment makes me very sad. To find unconditional and/or familial love a character flaw is tragic to me. I see it as a great strength on Lizzie's ...more
Jan 23, 2015 09:22AM · flag

In several parts of the novel, Lydia and Kitty are as thick as thieves. I suppose there is something redeeming in the fact that she doesn't treat her younger sister like a sister--she regards her as a protégé and friend. Their dynamic changes when Lydia leaves for Brighton, of course, but as many other commenters have already mentioned, Lydia was young and brought up to believe that marriage, only marriage, was her salvation.

This isn't to say that I believe Lydia to be an "unsung hero." She was selfish and foolish, but I do not think that she is simply an antagonist. I'm not a fan of her either, though!

Redeeming characteristics implies there is something about her that compensates for being immoral and selfish and so on. I can't think of anything that redeems her from all of that, but something that might be an excuse is her being so young, but she did have Jane and Lizzy to look to for any lack from her parents, so as one earlier post put, I've got nothing.

Good question. But I got nothing.

Uh...Does Lydia have any redeeming characteristics? She was fun loving and happy go lucky and the life of the party. She is the youngest of the sisters and Kitty was three years older but was influenced by her so she was persuasive, if you could call these redeeming, they certainly characterize strongness of will. At her age in the book, she was young and immature. She wanted what she wanted and as mentioned, she was ignored by her parents and called silly. She was certainly that. She was innocent and blind to people's short comings as far a Wickham was concerned, I want to know why he chose a silly girl to seduce? I don't think the infatuation and challenge lasted for him but a day or two. He loved the challenge and he could lie and he was charming. Her virtue probably didn't last the first night. Jane made her easy to hate or pity. Her behavior certainly was not fixed in the story. She was a flirt and made her family look ridiculous. Those were Lizzy's words to her father. What I want to know is did Lydia have any redeeming qualities after she grew up? Did experience with Wickham mature her? Somehow I don't think so. She was the carbon copy of her mother and her mother only got worse. I think she really cared for Wickham and was blind to his faults to a certain point but then she had to know that his patterns never would change and he probably was unfaithful to her and had other women. I like the portrayal of her in Death comes to Pemberley where she knew but didn't admit it to herself. She defended him and stood by him. Could she be redeemed? I think if she found a man who really lovd her and had a strong hand, she could be yielded and learn how to mature and act. She needed an older husband to be firm with her. Strong enough to be firm but gentle enough to show love and caring. Else she would stay the same spoiled girl she always was.

deleted member Jan 22, 2015 11:32AM   0 votes
You're forgetting that this is a classic, and published in 19th century. People were not always as they are today. Mentality itself is changing through time. Obviously, there was a time that 'woman's purpose'was to be a good housewife and to get married with children, no matter how old she was. I personally thank God it's not like that today.

Austen writes Lydia in a way that makes us dislike and disapprove her decisions. Elizabeth has to find some reason to like her because she is family. The readers however, are not really given any reason to like Lydia, and her petty attitude makes her my least favorite character.

Not really, but in her defense we can say she's the youngest. Not many young people are prone to sense; also, she's very similar to her overindulging mother.

I haven't yet seen suggested a more viable future for Lydia than the one she seized. Caregiver/drudge in her mother's widowhood and old age? No. Jailbreak was definitely her best option. Good for her!

She and Wickham both exhibit more spine than either of her parents and more than enough to make decent livings perhaps as innkeepers or in an assembly room.

Not that I can think of. Well ... maybe a certain loyalty to Wickham, misplaced though it may be.

She's lively and she's fun. Lizzie loves her despite everything she's done. She might be foolish, but she manages to get what she wants, even if she needs Darcy's help. If she hadn't married Wickham, she would probably have been one of the great courtesans of her age.

No, I think Lydia's purpose is to be everything Elizabeth is not: foolish, desperately flirtatious, and self-absorbed. You aren't supposed to like her. I'm not even sure Elizabeth likes her, but she certainly worries about her, though that's probably just out of duty to her sister. I think everyone can think of that annoying girl in high school, and call her a "Lydia".

Have you folks seen "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries?" Their take on Lydia is my favorite part of the series.

Monique (last edited Jan 19, 2015 01:40AM ) Jan 19, 2015 01:38AM   0 votes
I don't care for Lydia either.

While many young people get away with all sorts of bad/erratic behavior nowadays, life goes on, for the most part.

During the Regency period, a girl with Lydia's behavior could/would cause the family to lose everything within their social stratum: The family could have been shunned/banned from 'polite circles', and denied credit. They would even find it hard to hire good servants. And most of all, the unattached sisters would find it very difficult to get married.
Lydia didn't care about any of those ramifications when she ran off with Wickham.

Nope - I don't like the lil' selfish, spoiled brat at all.

Susan (last edited Jan 01, 2015 06:01PM ) Jan 01, 2015 05:59PM   0 votes
She's not really likeable, but she is very young. I think she did not intend to materially damage her sister's marriage prospects, though if she were told she had I suspect she would refuse to believe it. Her parents have not done her much good and being her Mother's favourite she appears to take little notice of Jane and Lizzy's examples, because they are their Father's favourites.
I feel very sorry for her and for Kitty and Mary too, but ultimately she is very silly and thoughtless and not even a little ashamed of all the worry and trouble she has caused. She may be thoughtless, but she appears to be at least of average intelligence. To some extent I think she is her mother over again, determined to have her way and shameless at pretending a thing must be so simply because she wants it to be.

She's pretty, selfish and a narcissist......but towards the end, she did tell Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy was the one who helped act of kindness. You gotta give her some credit for that...a glimmer of goodness underneath layers of insecurity...?

I think Lydia was definitely steered wrong. I don't blame her for her behaviors because that was how she was raised. You can't really hold a sixteen year old responsible for what they do. They are children. Big children, but children all the same.

I dislike Lydia, but I suppose she does have the ability to bounce back from tough situations...also she is very young remember. Most people are self-absorbed and annoying at sixteen, it's a tricky age. (Although I do admit she is far worse than most).

No, not really; I always disliked her character.

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