The battle of the Jane Austen villains, Villain off is back! On the left we have the abominable Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey and on the right we have the intolerable Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice.
Welcome to the twenty second episode of the What the Austen? podcast! I'm your host Izzy, and I am joined by my friend and fellow Janeite Caily Bridgeland. Villain off is back for 2022, we will be analysing Isabella and Caroline Bingley and the question is who's the bigger villain? we will be looking at their crimes in detail before we crown our Biggest Villain of October 2022.
If you enjoyed this topic listen to Villain off 2021: Episode 7: Jane Austen Villain off 2021 | Wickham v Willoughby with Caily @half_agony_half_hope and Ellis @historian_ellis
This podcast is about Janeites coming together, discussing Jane Austen's work, and having a few laughs along the way.
We really enjoyed making this episode and we hope you like it!
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Where can you find Caily?
Episode 2: A defence of Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility
Episode 5: Discussing Jane Austen's most awkward characters #AwkAustenAug
Episode 7: Jane Austen Villain off 2021 | Wickham v Willoughby with Caily and Ellis
Episode 9: The power of the letter in Jane Austen's work
Episode 12 & 13: Let the sorting begin... placing Jane Austen's Heroines into their Harry Potter Houses.
Where can you find your host (Izzy)?
Podcast Instagram: @whattheausten
Personal Instagram: @izzymeakin
Youtube: What the Austen? Podcast
Izzy Meakin 00:20
Hi, Janites and welcome to episode 22 of the What the Austen? podcast and welcome to this year's villain off. I am super excited to be doing villain off again last year myself, Caily and Ellis were on and we all talked about John Willoughby and Mr. Wickham and we debated who was the worst villain. So if you enjoyed this episode, after listening to it, I recommend you checking that one out as well. Elkanah Drean is this year she has a family commitment, but she's doing so well. And she got accepted for a PhD which is really amazing. And yeah, I mean, Caily is superb shifter about that, and she'll definitely be on the podcast next year. So don't worry, but Kaylee's here so, Caily. Welcome back.
Thanks, as always, for having me back. Izzy and, Ellis. If you're listening now, we miss you a lot. And we're so proud of you. And so today we are going to be doing another bill in us. And we thought we'd do a girl villain off between Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice, and Isabella Thorpe from Northern or Abby. So we're gonna give an overview of each of these characters, how they're important to the plot, and then talk about similarities and differences between them. And we'll decide at the end, who we think is more of a villain. I am super
Izzy Meakin 01:45
excited to do this and to cover Isabella and Caroline. Both I think are great villains. And you know, both have scandalous behaviour. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to that. But before we get into the episode, I'd love to know Caily Do you have any like Halloween October activities that you love or any books you'd like to revisit this time of year?
Oh, yes, I am such a fall girl. I get so excited for fall. I'm very basic in my fall fun activities. I love pumpkin spice lattes, love oversized sweaters, pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving. And I actually like rereading Northanger Abbey this time of year because I love the Gothic element to it that Jane's other books don't have. How about you?
Izzy Meakin 02:36
Know I also love awesome. I really do. And I was saying in my my last episode, so the first one of October that this year I've actually booked to go and like pick a pumpkin from like a pumpkin farm. So fun. So I just like so excited to do that. I don't know why, but I just think it'd be. I don't know. Maybe it's just like a novelty. Isn't it going and picking a pumpkin too. I do love carving pumpkins. I'm really bad at it though.
Me too. I'm always afraid I'm going to place my finger off. You know? Like, this is not for fun.
Izzy Meakin 03:09
Oh my gosh. Yeah. And I just love you know, hot chocolates with cream and cardigans. And I just love all all skin colours. So yeah, I'm always like, super excited to get to this time of year. It gives me new life.
Exactly. And are you going to do the hayride to get to your pumpkin?
Izzy Meakin 03:27
Oh, gosh, I don't think that's thrown in. But I think I think we just tied up in all like cars and stuff. I don't I don't think there's like a tractor or something that we can go on is that
it it's such a thing in the states where you'll you'll show up to the pumpkin patch. But to actually get to the pumpkin patch. You go in the back of this truck slash waggon with a bunch of hay and you are transported and you get a beautiful view. And then you've picked a pumpkin. Yeah.
Izzy Meakin 03:55
Oh my gosh, I hope that happens. If not, I'm gonna leave it as like a thing that they should upgrade to that I can't get to go on their waggon and sit on hey, that's mad.
Well, you'll have to just visit America in the fall, right?
Izzy Meakin 04:08
Yeah, that would be even better. Absolutely. We could do it together. We could put pumpkin out each.
Yeah, and then record it record an episode while we're on the haystack ranch. That should go well,
Izzy Meakin 04:21
the next village off which is like on the back of a truck but it was so funny. Love it. Okay, so to kick things off, I think I'm gonna start things off with Isabella thought and then Caily is going to take over and cover Caroline Bingley and then what we'll do is we'll bring them both together and we'll basically work out who's worse so it's pretty much the same format as last year's fill it off. Okay, so Isabella thought for Northanger Abbey is a really complex character actually. So she's 21 and she's said to be really beautiful. A lot of people are very interested in especially men and She has no fortune, her dad has died and left her mum with pretty much little to no money. So she's quite poor. And then so obviously her children, kind of the byproduct of that as well. So, Isabella, yeah, doesn't have a fortune to go on. So she does desperately need to marry and marry someone with a comfortable living. I would say, she's in bath with her family, and so and Catherine's, obviously in bath with the Alan's. So they meet up and they just become fast friends. One of the quotes from Nora Fangire says, the process of the friendship between Catherine and Isabella was quick as its beginnings had been warm. They call each other by their Cristea names were always on an arm when they walked pins up each other's trains for dances. And we're not to be divided in the set. And that also said that I'm really mourning as they would shut themselves up to read novels together. So it sounds like kind of the perfect friendship. They obviously stick together for bowls that really close they read together. I mean, on the surface, it sounds pretty idyllic, I would say, What do you think, Kaley? If like the original introduction to their friendship?
I completely agree. I think the word surface surface level is so telling in the relationship between Isabella and Catherine. And it seems I it does seem that because Isabella is four years older, they are close friends. And it is this idea to like relationship, but also Isabella is the one who's in the know. Like she's teaching Catherine how to be a member of society, I would say, yeah,
Izzy Meakin 06:37
yeah, no, I totally agree. And Isabella always comes across like she knows best in that she's got so much more experience, especially with men, she has this tendency of being like, Oh, I know that sex. So well. They do this and they do that honestly drives me forward. She does that. But she's like, has this air about her as if she's, she's got so much more experience. And I think Austen kind of makes a joke on that when she when she first introduces Isabella, she says that there was this like, age difference, but also difference in knowledge of the world. But I kind of feel like it was a little bit sarcastic. Even though Catherine is quite naive. I feel like Isabella's knowledge of the world is quite fake, which I think is a key word for Isabella. So but we'll get into that.
We just wanted to say completely agree that that sarcastic because I actually think that Catherine has really good judgments and instincts, even though she doesn't have that much experience. But Isabella plays into Catherine's naivety and that doubting of herself and just like you said, puts on all these airs that she knows so much about society and is so knowledgeable, but just like you said, it's very comes across very inauthentic.
Izzy Meakin 07:46
Yeah, I totally agree. One of my favourite scenes what Isabella is at her finest is basically Catherine's running five minutes late and Jane Austen makes a point of talent is it's only five minutes late before this scene occurs. So Isabella says to Catherine, my dearest creature, what kind of made you so late? I've been waiting for you at least this age. And then Catherine says, Have you indeed I'm very sorry for it. But I really felt I was in very good time. I hope you've not been waiting long. And then Isabella says, Oh, these 10 ages at least I'm sure I've been waiting here at this half hour in. So Isabella, like it's she's five minutes late. And she's like, Oh, my goodness, I've been waiting my entire life for you. What are you doing? And it's lovely. She's like this half hour. It's like, it's not even possible because she's like, Austen already tells us that Isabella has only been there for five minutes that I think it's brilliant.
Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you picked out that quotation because it just perfectly sums her up. She's so dramatic. And she's also just a professional gas later to Catherine. Catherine will say something. She's like, No, that's not true. This falsehood is true. And it's almost like she convinces Catherine that there's this separate reality happening.
Izzy Meakin 08:56
Oh my god, it's so true. And I feel like something that's super fascinating as well. It kind of falls in this gaslighting thing is is that Ballard goes on these long spiel about like what it is to be a good friend. And she goes on like this massive conversation about her friend, Miss Andrews, in how all these men are always really means Miss Andrews, because she's not the prettiest in the room. But Isabella is like I always stand up for an I always say to you and I won't pay them any intentions. Unless they're really nice to my friend Miss Andrews, when she says Men think is incapable of real friendship, you know, and I'm determined to show them the difference. But then at the end of it, she says that Miss Andrews, she says there was something amazingly insipid about her. And I'm just like, you just contradicted your entire argument by just like offended by the last minute.
Oh my gosh, she's so contradictory, so hypocritical. You just never have the feeling that she's saying anything that she truly means.
Izzy Meakin 09:49
No, absolutely. And I think it's weird because I try and put myself in the position of like first reading Northanger Abbey and like what I have fallen for things evolve. Oh, she's just like a nice friend because I feel like Some other stuff is quite subtle. And it's been fun to go back and kind of pick out quotations that I think really Mark signs that Isabella is false. Before we even know for sure if that makes sense, like these little things like when she's five minutes early, but actually it she's like, Oh my gosh, I've been waiting 10 100 years. And I think another really good example of that is, like, Isabella's obsession with men. Like she's just absolutely, like, fixated on just any man, wherever it is, like the funny scene, when it's kind of similar. I think it is around the same time as the scene when she's late. And she said, well, she's not really like she's five minutes like, but she says, that kind of chatted and Isabel is clearly not paying attention much. And she says, For heaven's sake, let's just move away from the centre of the room. Do you know there are two odious men who've been staring at me, which I think is the key word, this half hour in a thing was actually the funniest thing ever is one that she's not been there for half hour. So I don't know why she's even saying that to Why does she assume they're just staring at her in theory, after this point, she goes on to basically force her and Catherine to bump into them again, when she tries to pretend like she's trying to avoid them. And Catherine’s literally like, Oh, should we not wait, else? We're gonna bump into them again. And she's like, Oh, no, I won't do that. That's just for their benefit to stop and wait for them. No, I won't do that. We need to we need to hurry and go now and I just think it's oh my gosh, she just is all this like these little things. And I'm just like, it makes me cringe. That it feels so obvious, but also, oh, it's just like a gross fakeness about her.
Totally. She's, I think she's an egomaniac. She's totally self indulgent. But she likes to pretend like she isn't like she she's gonna criticise these guys, but she also has has to get the attention from them. Yeah, yeah, totally agree with you.
Izzy Meakin 11:51
And I think another really annoying points about Isabella is, Catherine actually formed a really good relationship with Miss Tilney. So Elena Tilney and she's like really lovely and like basically what a friend should be. But her and her brother John, actually try and like sabotage that that friendships so much in there's like an actually awful scene I think is the first time that Catherine starts to think Isabella's a bit dodgy in this moment because Isabella is basically trying to convince Catherine to go out with them and to cancel her plans with miss tilly for the second time because technically they already dragged away the first time in this only thought that she'd like Do you remember like when she they like in the carriage and Miss totally walks past and she's like, oh, like you've got to stop and he doesn't.
That is one of the most frustrating scenes I feel like pulling out my hair and it's so horrible. And Catherine clearly doesn't want to go and is trying to put up her boundaries and then they're going away on the carriage and you know how much Catherine wants to see Miss Tony and and then she goes right by them and you see how hurt this Tony is and it's just such a in how and then John Thorpe is so awful in the carriage that whole scene is just horrible.
Izzy Meakin 13:08
Oh my God would not be a call even imagine anything more cringy than I had plans with somebody and then they see me like can you imagine if they saw you like driving away? And you were somebody else and you pass them? That would be that'd be so awkward now like don't even think like back then when you're in a carriage and then you're like really vulnerable and open.
But yeah, it's so it's so awful because it comes across as so rude. But you also know that Catherine it wasn't her fault at all. And she was so excited to see them so you just feel for her in that moment. And you're like, ah, Isabella is so selfish,
Izzy Meakin 13:44
literally and I think this seam only makes it worse because they're basically trying to do the exact same thing again in Isabel is like it becomes so manipulative and she says she was sure her dearest sweetest Catherine would not now seriously refuse such a trifling request to a friend who loved her so dearly. In she tries to like basically love bomb her to start with. And then the narrative said Isabella then tried another method. She reproached her for having more affection for miss tilly. Though she had only known her a little while then for her best and oldest friend. Catherine thought it isn't that so bad. Like she's like, Oh, well, the love bombing has not worked. What can I try? Now? I'm going to basically like I don't even know what that is guilt tripping. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I just think that's awful. And Catherine's Catherine, it said, well, the narrative says that Catherine faultless reproach equally strange and unkind. But I love that Catherine picks up on that that's really dodgy. And she's starting to think like, I'm going to see like toxic traits here. I don't want to like she still loves Isabella and doesn't want to call her out that that's the case. But I think she starts to notice these things about Isabella at this point.
Yeah, and again, that's something I really like about the kid. character if Catherine is she does have good instincts about people, she just has to learn and evolve and learn to trust trust in those instincts. And let's give her some credit to it's super confusing when someone's calling you, my dearest, my darling, my oldest friend, but then is treating you really horribly and not actually having your best interests
Izzy Meakin 15:23
at heart. And also, you have to think that Catherine obviously was living quite a sheltered life like she had her siblings, but she was like in the countryside like, this is the first time that she's really had to navigate like a social world. And I think I mean, it couldn't have been worse, like what a worse person to meet than Isabella, where she's like telling you one thing, but her actions are so different. It'd be so confusing, and I get that it takes Catherine so long to actually trust her judgement on Isabella. It says Isabella appeared ungenerous and selfish regardless to everything. What's her own gratification? And I feel like that's quite damning. But Catherine’s still like kind of holding out hope that it's maybe just because James is around, and she's kind of acting a little bit different. And I feel like Catherine gives Isabella so many chances because she appreciates her as a friend. And Isabella is honestly, well, she begins to spiral, I think, but I think this is the start of her just like showing her true colours.
Absolutely. And I think too, we have to remember how insular Catherine's environment was growing up, this was probably her first friend, really? And yeah, it is impressive that she quickly sees that something's not right with Isabella, but it makes sense that she wouldn't write her off right away.
Izzy Meakin 16:41
Yeah, and I think his readers at this point, you start to be like, Oh, my gosh, this is about girls, not good news. And then it's really bad because you find out that she's engaged to Catherine's brother, and you're just like, oh, gosh, that like sticks together for eight forever now. And they're talking about like, how they're sisters and everything. And Isabella is going on this massive spiel about why money doesn't matter to her and like a moderate income would be good enough for her. Which then is also contradict you evidence contradicts idli. So because like the lesser comes back, and it's like less money than she thought. And she gets on like, she goes like a bit. She gets like quite angry about it, but in in an Isabella kind of way where she doesn't appear angry.
Oh, my gosh, yeah. So I study psychology. And I would say the defence mechanism that she uses the most is reaction formation. So that's when there's something you don't like about yourself that you can't accept. So you act the opposite, or say the opposite. So she's like, she cares so much about money. So she's gonna say, Oh, I don't care at all about money, or she doesn't like that. She really likes getting a lot of attention from guys. So instead, she'll say, I don't care about those guys, those guys are awful. But then she'll actually be wanting their attention. That's the hypocrisy and the contradictions. And that's, it's a classic defence mechanism. And I see her using it the most.
Izzy Meakin 17:59
Oh my gosh, actually so true when you just say no, and then I was literally just like, Isabella uncovered. This is the truth. And I think it only gets worse from this point. It's like Isabella can like no longer maintain this like false narrative that she's put forward, because like her true colours just started to show in James leaves bath. In then, Frederick, Tony's on the scene, who's I'm guessing he's kind of like a good looking guy. And he's like really flirtatious and basically does whatever the hell he wants to do. Isabella goes to this ball with Catherine. But she says to Catherine like she can't dance because James is so far away and she'd only dance with James but then cuts in Tony goes over to her and basically asks her to dance in Isabella goes and dances with it. And when she passes, Catherine, all she does is shrugs. She's just like, in smiles, like oh, this is like this is fine. Like it's not like I just told you I wouldn't dance with anybody but your brother have now I'm dancing with, you know Frederick Tilney and what's even worse about it is Catherine tries to suggest to Henry Tilney that she's like, Oh, Isabella won't do that. Because she's obviously attached to my brother. She'll never dance with your brother and then to watch Isabella like walk past with Frederick totally. I think that's so awkward. And I think really embarrassing for Catherine because she's tried to defend her friends honour, and her friends just not worth it.
Exactly. You see her trying to give Isabella the benefit of the doubt and time and time again. Isabella just lets her down.
Izzy Meakin 19:29
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's that I just think that's so awful. I feel like she has the potential to be such a good friend as well. Had she been all the things that she pretended to be. She would have been such a good friend but because she's just not that person. It's so much worse. And then she just like gaslighting thing again, where she says to Catherine that John Thorpe thinks that him and Catherine are engaged and Catherine's like, Where on earth did this come from? Like, I never gave him any intention that this was the case. Isabella is like so cruel. back it says that she says it laughingly that she's basically just like, oh, a little harmless flotation. And then she's like saying that, you know, women encourage men and she's not going to judge Catherine for doing that to her brother. And Catherine's literally like, I didn't do that. Please don't say that I have and please put your British rights because I've never encouraged him which she hasn't, as we know is read as she's never encouraged. John, Catherine knows who she is and what she's done for yet. She makes Catherine so uncomfortable about the situation, do you I mean, it's not enough to just be like, Oh, that's not the case. Then she goes, Oh, I'll just set my birth rights. I'm sorry. He obviously got the completely the wrong idea. It's like, oh, well, if that's not the case, that's fine. But I'm going to make you feel bad about it.
Exactly. Yeah. That's one of the most prime examples of the gaslighting instead of having her friends best interest. First of all, she should have been able to see that Catherine likes Mr. Tilney and didn't like her brother, but she didn't want to see that. Because that wasn't that would make life harder for her. So instead, she's she's flipping things around and acting like Catherine led John Thorpe on and it's just so unsupportive to her friend. And yeah, it's horrible.
Izzy Meakin 21:13
And that's the thing. It's so hypocritical because she's literally accusing Catherine of exactly what she's doing. Because she continues to flirt with Frederick totally going forward, even in front of Catherine and Catherine's was really sad about it is because this is so out of the ordinary for Kapha. She even says to Henry told me one woman who's in love won't flirt with another man in she's got like such a good moral compass compared to Isabella. This she thinks that she starts to worry about Captain Tilney and she's like, Oh, no, I think he's falling in love with Isabella and Isabel is unconsciously consciously encouraging him literally says, Isabella's attachments are James was so certain and well acknowledges her engagement, that basically she couldn't be conscious in her encouragement to Frederick Tilney because she's engaged and she's meant to be married and Jane's that's how Catherine thinks about it. That's a sign deal. There's no way that she will be going for someone else. But what amazes me is that's probably what society thoughts as well, because it's really dangerous, like cool off and engagement at this point.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And again, you see Catherine trying to give her friend the benefit of the doubt and her friend just acting in a very selfish way. And just I know you're gonna get to this, but the audacity that after her behaviour in front of Catherine, that she writes a letter to Catherine and tries to, you know, get her to convince James to come back to her is just completely over the top and inappropriate. And again, selfish.
Izzy Meakin 22:42
Oh, my God, literally. And what's worse about the fact that she writes that letter is, this is the first time she reaches out to Catherine once Catherine goes to North anger. So she says, like, I'm definitely going to write to you, I promise. Like, we need to talk all the time, you need to tell me all about no finger. And Isabella literally doesn't write anything to her. And Catherine doesn't think about it too often. But she does often think like, why is Isabella not sent me a letter when she promised she would? And you would think that from your friend, if you had this close friends that you've been spending every day together, you would be thinking, why are they not written me a letter? That's so weird?
Yes, it's so flaky. And it's so self serving that when she finally does, its to put Catherine in this awkward position of trying to convince her brother to take Isabella back. There's no thinking about Catherine and Catherine's Well, being in that,
Izzy Meakin 23:29
I think what's worse as well as before Isabella's letter arrives, she gets the letter from her buffer, which basically says, Isabella's made him totally miserable. Because she's, you know, going to marry well, he thinks that she's going to marry Frederick Tilney. And she's like, called off the engagement. And well, I don't know if she does, but he basically says, like, I can't condone your behaviour, so we can't get married anymore, which is absolutely fair guys. It the end of his letter, he says, Darius, Catherine, beware how you give your heart. And it's not just the saddest thing, like, it's so sad that both of them fall for Isabella, because they're both really kind people. And she totally takes advantage of both of them. And I think it's so sad in Catherine again, because like her brother thinks that it's because that she's going to marry Frederick and she even says to like, Henry, the whole Isabella is going to marry you, brother now in Henry's, like, I can't really see that being the case. Because, you know, my brother's definitely not going to marry Isabella. In I think he even says no, no woman has ever been good enough for her to love. And so he knows that his brother is just like, not the type to marry. If he was to marry, it probably wouldn't be for love and it'd probably be for money. But he's also so aware that this could be really difficult for Catherine that she's become aware of how kind of not very nice a friend is which I think Henry was always aware of because he he would make sarcastic It comments about it not in a way to upset Catherine but in a way to try and bring her around to his way of seeing it that Isabella isn't as innocent as she thinks she is.
This, I'm just processing this whole situation is just so convoluted and, and screwed up. It just comes back to Isabella being very self serving selfish, not thinking about others
Izzy Meakin 25:26
know exactly. But Henry says to Catherine and losing Isabella, you lose half of yourself. You feel a void in your heart, which nothing else can occupy. But it's really interesting because Catherine’s responses, I do not all try to say the truth, though I am hurting grieved, that I cannot still love her that I am never to hear from her perhaps never to see her again. I do not feel so very, very afflicted, as one may have thoughts. And I think that's so interesting. It is. It makes me think I'm like is that because she started to realise that Isabella wasn't as good of her friend like had this happened? Right at the start when they were like reading together and going to the balls together? Would it have hurt Catherine so much more? Is it because it's been like this little drip effect, where there's issues like when she was trying to sabotage the friendship with Miss Tilney and then when she'd seen her flirting with Frederick in the past? Is it just like, is that the saving grace that makes Catherine’s not too upset about it?
I think it is. I like what you said with the drip effect. I think it was little things building up over time that you know, Catherine already felt emotionally distant from her. And, and in those comments back to Mr. Tilney. It sounds like she's relieved. She's felt so trapped by this relationship with Isabella. And also that's just a great moment where I love Mr. Tilney because he's just so emotionally smart, and so supportive Catherine in that moment.
Izzy Meakin 26:54
I know like the way he says it is almost like it hurts him to think that Catherine’s now feeling, like, lost without her friends. And obviously, that isn't the case, which is probably a relief to him. But it's so it's so empathetic, that he would even think that in the first place, it also shows that stark difference between him and the thoughts is that he has this emotional intelligence, which I think is so important in that moment, because this is obviously like all coming to the front of how bad all of the thoughts are. So I think it's good to show the contrast there.
Yes, he's emotionally intelligent. And he's in he's also shrewd, and savvy in a way that I think will be beneficial to Catherine, who's still a little bit more green, even though she has good judgement and good instincts and intuition. So you just see how they would be a really good match.
Izzy Meakin 27:44
Yeah, I totally agree. I feel I just like, a couple of quotes from Isabella's letter as well, because it honestly makes like, you've pretty much already covered like what she says, but honestly makes me cringe so much. That she says, she says that. Basically, she starts the lecture where she's saying, Oh, thank God, we're gonna leave this fireplace tomorrow talking about bath, we obviously know that she doesn't think it's a fireplace, but she's obviously just contradicts herself all the time. And then she talks about how there's basically rumours going around that hair of Frederick, and she's just like, Oh, I was never taken in by and that was all, you know, lies that never happened. And then she's like, praise me news of your brother. I am quite unhappy about him. He seems so uncomfortable when when he went away with a cold or something.
Like, Oh, I wonder why. She's so annoying.
Izzy Meakin 28:40
She's like, so shameless, then she can be like, I don't know why he seems so uncomfortable when he went away. Maybe you had a cold? It's like,
oh my gosh, that's the perfect word. I was like, what is the word to describe her? She's shameless. She has no sense of remorse. Oh, gosh, it's horrible.
Izzy Meakin 29:00
Like, I think I've got to be slightly psychopathic, to actually do some of the things that she does because it's, it's borderline delusional. It's almost as if she doesn't recognise that other people around her see the reality that she can like, say this, because Catherine knows that this isn't the case. And for her to have, like, the scruples to send this letter in try and flip it around again. I mean, what that is like the, you've got to be desperate at that point to send this letter in what I mean she could have taken an entirely different approach. She could have sent a letter saying, I've been so foolish. I was totally drawn in by Frederick Tilly. I feel terrible about it. I'd like to make amends for your brother. I know that maybe we can't be together anymore, but I just want to apologise, you know, I was totally just swept off my feet or something. You know what you mean? Like just thing that meets it. Okay. Not better, but okay. Instead, this just makes it worse.
She has she just doesn't have That would require her to take responsibility and accountability. And she just can't do that she has to create this own reality in her head and then through speech act like she's a certain person. And then by gaslighting everyone else, we're actually living in the true reality. That's how she copes and continues living the way she does.
Izzy Meakin 30:21
And to the last, she's still basically trying to turn out and other people. So she says that James, that he took something in my conduct a mess like that it is his misunderstanding that actually, I'm a good person, and none of this happened. But then she finishes the letter, literally one of the final things she talks about is the captain told me like to hat that she wore, I'm just like,
classic narcissistic behaviour, anything that's amiss is someone else's fault. And then also I need to be adored, I need to have the attention.
Izzy Meakin 30:52
And she's like I do, but I didn't listen to anything he says. It's like, if you didn't think it was relevant, why put it in the letter? Like, places like so ridiculous?
Oh, my gosh, yeah, I need to I need that attention, but I'm not gonna identify with it.
Izzy Meakin 31:08
So I do want to talk about Catherine’s judgement. But I'm gonna leave it until you've done Caroline Bingley, because I think has Catherine's judgments of Isabella is basically what we all think of Isabella, so I'd love to just bring that up at that point is kind of like, you know, when we talk about both of them side by side, I think that'll be a good time to bring Bob in. So I'll hand it over to you to do Caroline Bingley. All right,
that's, oh, my gosh, I need a minute because now I'm so angry at Isabella. To just like, take a breath. keep I keep flashing back to that cringe moment in the carriage and how Isabella set that all up. So
Izzy Meakin 31:48
she's one of the kind I mean, I mean, you can't deny it. Honestly, she's a bizarre character.
It's so true. And I need a minute to transfer my rage at her to Caroline. So, Caroline Bingley, our other villain of choice is, as we know the sister of Jane Bennett's love interest Charles Bingley, from Pride and Prejudice and she moves from London to Netherfield park with Mr. Bingley, her sister Louisa and Louise's drunken husband, Mr. Hurst and then of course, the infamous Mr. Darcy comes along. things to know about Caroline is her rank is a gentle woman. She's 20 years old, unmarried. She has a fortune about 20,000 pounds. And it's clear that she's interested in Mr. Darcy, who seems at best disinterested in any and all interactions with her. And so you see this unrequited love situation happening? And I thought that Lizzie's initial description of Caroline Bingley and her sister is pretty telling. She describes them as very fine ladies not deficient in good humour when they were pleased, not in the power of being agreeable where they chose it, but proud and conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town had a fortune of 20,000 pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they thought, and of associating with people of rank. And, yeah, what do you think of that initial description?
Izzy Meakin 33:30
I think like some of the things that stand out to me is obviously like the fact that that kind of like proud and a bit snobby. But also sue, when when they say when you said it in the quote, Bowery, it was like, they weren't deficient in that good humour when they were pleased, or they were quite good at conversation when it was agreeable to them. I feel like that just sums up like what Caroline's like it's like, if it pleases her, it's agreeable to her, then she she can be quite charming or if the the society that she's in a good standing, and then she can be really agreeable and pleasant, but it's like If anything falls below the line for them. That's when I think Caroline in particular is honestly such like a snob and just not a nice person. And I think Mrs. Haas really just eggs her on in that. Yeah, I
completely agree with you. I think it's clear that she's well bred, she knows the right kind thing to say when she needs to the polite thing. She definitely understands societal and social expectations. But she does she has conceded she does think she's a higher rank than other people. So she she can't be bothered with Mrs. Bennett and the younger daughters, but she does see these good qualities in Jane and so that, you know, she, despite thinking she's super superior to the family, she sees the good qualities in Jane and seeks out this friendship with her. And so I I thought that it was very funny. That conversation where they're talking about how Jane is pretty and nice and Mr. Darcy says that she smiles too much. And I'd like to hear. First of all so ridiculous. It says Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so but they admired her and liked her and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they should not object to No, no more of. And then it says also, Mrs. Bennett's pleasing manners grew on the goodwill of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, and though the mother was found to be intolerable, and the younger sister is not worth speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted with them was expressed toward the two eldest. And then it says, Elizabeth still saw their superciliousness and their treatment of everyone. And so, a question I have for you here is clearly Miss Bingley, assume even though she's really kind of rude and aloof towards everyone else. She is nice to Jane. And do you think that that's authentic at the beginning that she actually likes Jane?
Izzy Meakin 36:06
I don't know. And I, I don't know what her motive would be if it wasn't authentic, if that makes sense. I don't know if it's like, well, keep your enemies closer in a sense, and she thinks if this person is a threat to marry my brother, I want to know, everything. But it doesn't seem that way. It seems like maybe, obviously, they're in a new place that they've never been to before. They've moved to Netherfield. Maybe it literally is like beggars can't be choosers, who's like the most decent person in the town that we could be friends with? And Jane just happens to be that person? Do you I mean, because they will be quite lonely, like, it'll just be them and Mr. Darcy as a house guest and it will be awkward to live in a big house and just be isolated like they need and in and I feel like Jane was kind of that way it was like they could do enough to be accepted into into that society. But they didn't have to, you know, bother too much with people they didn't want to. Yes, I
both of the things you said I kind of oscillate between thinking it's one or the other, maybe a combination of both. I think they they are they're probably bored and they want to make you know, a friend. And they see that of everyone there. Jane, they see her as having the best breeding and maybe would be the most fun person to be around. And also another part of me thinks maybe they see the connection between Jane and Mr. Bingley, and they also want to be keeping an eye on it. So that's just one thing I wanted to think about. Because I think whichever interpretation you have makes Caroline more or less of a villain. Yeah, oh,
Izzy Meakin 37:39
that's actually such a true point. Like if it's an authentic friendship, that kind of makes her less of a villain. Whereas if it was, she did it for kind of selfish motives that would then obviously make him more of a villain. But just like it, just something that we could bring up later, though, like, you could look at that maybe Isabella's friendship with Catherine wasn't selfish to start with.
Oh, and I'm thinking to maybe Caroline's friendship with Jane wasn't selfish to start with to or wasn't calculated. Maybe she actually likes Jane. Or maybe she did it. Oh,
Izzy Meakin 38:14
my gosh, okay. We can get that to be like, like, oh, that sounds good.
Yeah, let's definitely go back to that. So, anyway, so this friendship between Jane and Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst starts and James invited over. And as we know, her mother sends her out in the rain and she gets very sick. And so we get to know Miss Bingley a lot better while Jane is sick at the house. And Lizzy comes and cares for Jane. And so we see very much that Miss Bingley is besotted by Mr. Darcy and she constantly agrees with everything that he says despite the fact that clear. An example of this is she clearly doesn't like to read but because Mr. Darcy is reading, she says these ridiculous quotes, like I declare, after all, there is no enjoyment like reading how much sooner one tires of anything than a book. When I have the house of my own. I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library, but then it shows that she's not even looking at the book and is bored looking at Mr. Darcy's buck. So she's constantly clearly being inauthentic to her own interests and doing everything she can to impress Mr. Darcy, which I find super desperate and cringe What do you think about that?
Izzy Meakin 39:43
makes me cringe so much. I feel like the adaptations do such a good job with that scene because they'll be like sat there and she's like, obviously not reading the book. And then she just like she says that quote, and then she just like shuts it up really quickly. And it's just like that was all just a show the If he thought I'd drop a walk around the room, let's take a turn about the room instead.
Oh my gosh, yes, that was the scene to bring up. First of all, I think it's cringe when Mr. Darcy just doesn't respond to anything she says. Or, and yeah, exactly, I think, exactly that infamous scene where she's trying to get Mr. Darcy's attention and he won't look at her. And she knows that if she engages Elizabeth in some activity that Mr. Darcy will give her attention. So that scene however, she says, let's take a turn about the room. And she's showing off her body to Mr. Darcy. And even though she knows on some level that he's looking at elicit Elizabeth and interested because of Elizabeth, she's fine with using Elizabeth to get any kind of attention from him, which I just find so desperate.
Izzy Meakin 40:54
Yeah, I'm gonna say for dating advice. I really don't think a good idea is to find someone that that whoever you're interested in likes more and then just taking them about everywhere? I don't think that's going to work out for you.
Yeah, approach like, I
Izzy Meakin 41:09
can't imagine why you'd possibly do that. Unless this point she's not fully aware of how much Mr. Darcy just like Elizabeth. And so she's thinking, Oh, if I put a side by side, maybe he'll see that I've got a better form or something.
I never thought of it that way. But that could that could definitely be true. Because I think at this point, the only interaction that's happened is she found out from Mr. Darcy that he admired Elizabeth fine eyes. And I think that's the only thing that's been said. And she at this point, she's teasing Mr. Darcy relentlessly about that. Yeah.
Izzy Meakin 41:48
And she's been talking about like, what it is to the perfect woman in a sense, and I feel like one of her comments is about the air that you have when you're like walking around. So maybe she's trying to show that she has better air and Elizabeth.
Oh, that's so true. She Yes, she's gonna put herself side by side with Elizabeth and, and and show him how she's the ideal woman. And you're right. That's such a cringe speech that she gives when she's talking about the ideal woman. And it totally backfires. Because Mr. Darcy then complements Elizabeth Right. Like he says, an ideal woman improves her mind by extensive reading and Elizabeth is holding a book at that point.
Izzy Meakin 42:29
Oh my god. Yeah. And maybe now the conspiracy. Maybe Caroline's like, well, I don't really like region, but he's obviously interested in the fact that Elizabeth does. Maybe if I can get her to walk with me that will stop her from reading and you know, then we're on the same page again. Yeah, we're both the same level again.
Oh, my gosh. So it just like Isabella, it shows up differently. But there's a lot of falseness and manipulation happening. And I think one thing that can definitely be said of, of Caroline isn't in addition to putting Lizzy in this weird position where she herself is trying to impress Mr. Darcy, when she finds out Mr. Darcy likes Lizzie, she bad mouths, Lizzie constantly. She'll say unlike Isabella, she'll say rude things to Lizzie's face. But then also, as soon as she leaves the room just is relentless about credit being very critical of her. And an example of this is she talks to Mr. Darcy when Lizzie is out of the room and he says, and she says you will have a charming mother in law indeed. And of course she will always be at Pemberley with you. She's constantly talking about how Lizzie's family's inferior even bringing in Lizzie's extended family like Mrs. Phillips, and the gardener's and laughs really unkindly about them being in Cheapside. And what's actually super hypocritical about this that I hadn't realised before is that the way that she has her own 20,000 pounds is from trade, but she's laughing at them because they're in trade. So she's very condescending in that way. But it's hypocritical, because that's how she got her family money
Izzy Meakin 44:17
is really interesting. So I had this conversation of an episode with Charlie, I think it was my Who Wants to Be a Millionaire episode. But we had the conversation about the fact that the big loser from trade, and what we thought was because they're from trade, maybe they're not established enough and like genteel society, because they're only like, I think it was like her dad was kind of the start of the Genteel society for their family, and then it's them and obviously, yes, they do have money. But it's much more than that in in kind of this upper class society is where your root and I feel like their roots weren't strong enough. So I think this is why she's so fixated on Mr. Darcy, because should she marry Mr. Darcy, that fully establishes her or is somebody part of like, genteel society, part of upper class society, whereas I feel like they're still on the borders, like in somewhere like meriton. It wouldn't matter too much, because it's just a rich family that have come to town and people don't look into things as much. But I feel like in London, she's maybe a small fish.
Yes. And that would make sense as to why she's overcompensating so much, and being so snobby and conceited. She's not truly confident in her own place in society. So she's going to project these insecurities onto other people that she knows are of inferior rank. That's so interesting. Oh my gosh. So I guess there's a lot of this tension between Lizzie and Caroline and Mr. Darcy. And I guess the next important thing to talk about is we have the infamous Netherfield ball shortly after this. And, you know, she and Mr. Darcy realise how strong Jane and Mr. Bingley's attachment is. And so, her infamous letter that seems to come out of the blue, where she doesn't even she's supposed to be friends with Jane, she doesn't even say goodbye to Jane. And then she sends this letter insinuating that not only Mr. Bingley is leaving out of the blue and not to return, but that she hopes that Mr. Bingley is going to marry Georgianna. And i If I could describe this letter in one word, I would just say so cruel, cruel and jarring. And I would love to hear your reaction to this letter.
Izzy Meakin 46:41
I think what I'm like interested in is who was the mastermind behind this? Was it Dawsey? And did he lead the way and Caroline thought, Oh, this is a way for me to get on his good side is that I support this like plan of his, or was it Caroline? See, I favour that it was Mr. Darcy, because I think Caroline tried all of these motives with Mr. Darcy, like saying like, Oh, these people are poor, and we don't need anything to do with them. And it's not worked. But I feel like if it came from Mr. Darcy, that's why things would actually take place and Charles would leave and everything. Do you know it me like, I feel like it would have to be Mr. Dawson to make this choice. And Caroline's cruel behaviour. Her the only motive I can see strong enough is that it helps her get Mr. Darcy.
Oh, yeah, I completely agree with you. I think Mr. Darcy was the initiator of that. And as we know, anything that Mr. Darcy does, she's gonna go above and beyond and overboard to agree with him and go along with what he wants. And I think in addition to going along with what he wants, she wants him but she also has the motive to get him away from Lizzie. So if they all go back then she's not going to be worried about Mr. Darcy and Lizzy is attraction escalating, because remember, Mr. Darcy asked Lizzie to dance at another field ball. And that was a big deal because he only stood up with Caroline and Mrs. Hurst. So Caroline had to have witnessed that and been like, whoa, I'm in danger in danger of losing him. I need I need to get Darcy away from Lizzie.
Izzy Meakin 48:13
Yeah, I can imagine it made her feel so good though that Mr. Darcy was like we need to get Begley away from Jane because she's not suitable like that was probably like eased her mind a little bit. She was like, well, if she doesn't think that Jane is suitable for his friend then he's not going to think Lucy suitable for him. What amazes me is that doesn't stop Caroline's like, torment. Do I mean like, is the book continue? She's still she's still willing to like, make the family like the benefits look. Kind of a little bit ridiculous. I you might bring this up anyway. But I would like the point where she makes about the fact that the family are kind of obsessed with the militia. And she's like, Oh, the Redcoats leaving for you. That's a big loss for your family.
Yes, she does. These, these, these digs. I I actually wasn't going to bring up that part. But that is an important part where she just, she'll she'll try to embarrass Lizzie in front of everyone and belittle her publicly. And I would say, well, we'll get to the comparison between Caroline and Isabella. But I would say that there's less of that overt public humiliation with Isabella that Caroline tends to do. Yeah. Oh, I just wanted to make sure we highlighted some of the parts of this letter which is also just very cringe. I do not pretend to regret anything. I shall leave in Hartfordshire except your society and my dearest friend. But I hope we will at some future period enjoy many returns at the delightful intercourse we have known and in the meanwhile, may lessen the pain of separation by a very frequent and most unreserved correspondence. I depend on you for that. Like acting like she's gonna miss them. Jane's so much. But then how she actually responds is blowing Jane off when Jane comes to visit London, is rude to her waits three weeks to visit her and only does it because of propriety. And then acts like there's no way that Jane could see Mr. Bingley and hides from Mr. Bingley that Jane's in town. Just the fact that she would act like she misses Jane so much, but then behave in such a cruel manner is it just doesn't sit very well. Again, I
Izzy Meakin 50:33
feel like that we'll get into the comparisons but he says shameless to say I was like doing something that you think that you just like you, you don't care the impact they'll have? Well, I think it is like so sad that when Jane goes to stay, that she doesn't even go and visit and and when she does I think Jane even makes the call unless she's like I could tell that there was anywhere else she'd rather be.
You Exactly. I think that that is the the telling moment where Jane realises, okay, Miss Bingley does not have my best interests at heart and doesn't really want to be my friend. And I think I think you're right with this shamelessness. Clearly, Caroline called Jane a friend and said all of these nice things to her and clearly Caroline knew that Jane and Bingley had a strong connection. And despite that she says this. When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined that the business which took him to London might be concluded in three or four days. But as we are certain it cannot be so and at the same time convinced that when Charles gets to town, he will be in no hurry to leave it again. We have determined on following him further, that he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in comfortless hotel. And then she says Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister and to confess the truth, we are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance and accomplishments. Oh my gosh, what a dig at Jane, and how horrible and the affection she inspires and Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting. From the hope we dare to entertain of her being here after our sister. I don't know whether I ever before mentioned to you my feelings on the subject. But I will not leave the country without confining them, and I trust you will not esteem them unreasonable. My brother admires her greatly already, he will have frequent opportunity of now seeing her on the most intimate footing her relations all wish connection as much as his own. And assisters partiality is not misleading me I think when I call Charles most capable of engaging any young woman's heart, oh my gosh, what a dig with all these circumstances to favour and attachment and nothing to prevent it. Am I wrong? My dears, Jane and indulging the hopes of an event which will secure the happiness of so many.
Izzy Meakin 53:02
Oh my god don't? Oh,
it's so manipulative. And it's such a dig at Jane. And it's she has to know how devastated Jane is going to be reading that.
Izzy Meakin 53:16
And also it makes Jane like question her whole reality. Like the way that Caroline writes this is if Mr. bengalese like a Frederick Tilney that he's just flirting with people for the fun of it and Jane just being caught up in this, but I love that she's like, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but this is my view on the on all of this scenario. It's like you can do why you haven't mentioned it, Caroline because you wouldn't have the scruples to do it to Jane's face. Because you know, it would be really upsetting to her and you'd look like an absolute Dev. Yes.
Oh my gosh, that's exactly right. And of course, she didn't mention it before because Jane and Bingley were attached at the hip and clearly flirting. But of course you're right. Once she's removed from the situation she and writing can also like Isabella create this alternative reality where she pretends like she never saw that Jane and Bingley had a had an attachment.
Izzy Meakin 54:10
What's sad about it, though, is Jane thinks that she says like she's trying to put me on my god like so that I'm not vulnerable to Charles and I think she does Charles such a disservice in this letter, because she makes him appear like just not a decent guy. And I guess they stopped because he's actually one of the nicest male characters that Austen writes, I think and yeah, it just pulls him into all the lies and the deceit.
That's true. She She paints him in a pretty unflattering light. And I will say one part of Pride and Prejudice that is difficult to deal with is how much people think that they can manipulate Mr. Bingley and when he is such a nice guy and his intentions with Jane are so pure. So yeah. And so again, we mentioned this already, but Jane goes to London and missing least Treatment of her solidifies even in Jane's mind that this this woman doesn't have her best interest at heart. I would say from there it's what's important is that when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are reconnecting when she visits Pemberley, Caroline Bingley really realises that Mr. Darcy seriously cares about Elizabeth and she's super rude. She talks about her appearance how her appearance has altered so much she brings up how the mullet the loss of the militia must be so devastating for Lizzie's family. And then we have this very satisfying moment where Mr. Darcy finally stands up for Elizabeth and says she is one of the most handsome women of my acquaintance, and really puts Caroline in her place.
Izzy Meakin 55:51
I just love that so much. Because I also think this is like a moment where Mr. Darcy's like, recognising, like all the mistakes he's made, because I think he probably realises that he's played into what Caroline does, where she puts people down, and she lets pride takeover in and like snobbish behaviour in everything that he's done since leaving Well, upon leaving never field has been in support of her thought process. And I think in this moment, it like completely flips that. And he just starts taking an entirely different approach to life. And he's like, Oh, my gosh, I need to not be, you know, being such a dev. I need to be, you know, kind doesn't never gonna win Elizabeth, in I think this takes Caroline by like such a surprise. And I love that. And I think she needs this because you just can't go through life being so nasty about people like it's just, it's wrong.
Exactly. I think I think he's finally before, he just kind of sat back and even indulged her a little bit when she would talk about Elizabeth and Elizabeth, his family. And I think this is the moment where he sets the boundary. And I think she understands that she can't really behave in the same way of talking badly about Elizabeth. And kind of from then on. The next time we really see Caroline in the book is when Jane and Bingley get engaged, she sends a letter to Jane with her best wishes. And we Jane has this moment of not being deceived anymore that Caroline has her best interest. And then when she finds out that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged, she is absolutely mortified. She feels all this shame. But she realises she wants to be able to visit Kimberly. So she realises she has to put this jealousy aside, at least externally. And so it says how she retains her original deferential attitude towards Darcy and Georgianna. And takes care to treat Elizabeth with all politeness and respect. So it's, I don't know what you make of this. But it kind of sounds like she learns to change her tune. And maybe moving forward. While she's not going to be super effusive towards Elizabeth, she's not going to treat her the way she did in the past.
Izzy Meakin 58:14
I think because she can't marry Dawsey. He doesn't want to be like excluded from the Darcy's, if that makes sense. Because there's such an established family and society, having them as a connection, I think at that point is still going to be super important, especially now, because she's dosti is not an option for her. She's got to find somebody else. And I'm sure they won't be too interested if she's like somebody who's hated by a well established family.
Yes, I completely agree with that. And I think on just some authentic level, what one of the things I will say for Caroline is I think she truly, authentically had feelings for Darcy. And again, it's this desperation thing where it's okay, if I can't marry him, I still want to be around him as much as possible. And so she knows that this is the way that she can still see him and be around the family. Even if she can't be with them.
Izzy Meakin 59:05
You're actually interested in that as you might be doing her like, you might be giving her her greater compliments of her actions, then she actually deserves like, it could absolutely be the case that it's because she loves Mr. Darcy. But in like contrast, could it be that she? It was that thing about the fact that she's in trade, and she's trying to basically social climb style?
Yeah, I think it totally depends on your interpretation. I think both are valid. I don't know what it is where there is something that that can make me feel bad for her. I think she's She acts so desperately because she really cares for Mr. Darcy. But I've never I've never thought to look at it that other way that it might be more calculated than that.
Izzy Meakin 59:50
Yeah, I guess it's difficult as well because she puts all of our eggs in one basket like Mr. Darcy is the only person that we see her trying to go for and she just really Just anything in our power to try and make sure that's the case. And also we don't see them prior to coming to never feel so prior to meeting the benefits. And for all we know Mr. Darcy could have been like dead nice to her and could have given us some attention. Prior to that point. I don't know like it's possible.
Doubt it. I feel like he's so over. Who knows that it's true.
Izzy Meakin 1:00:24
Oh, she makes me cringe though with how desperately she tries to get his attention in the legs that she'll go to. Oh, it's bad. It's it's embarrassing, really, isn't it?
Yes, actually, I'm looking at this quotation from her that I wrote down. Jane Austen is brilliant. She is when they're talking about the accomplished woman. And it says, Oh, certainly, cried his faithful assistant. But nice telling right. No one can really be a steamed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with a woman must have thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages to deserve the world. And besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking. Dig out Elizabeth. The tone of her voice her dress and expressions are the word will have be deserved. It is just I just love that Jame calls Caroline has faithful assistant like she will do anything to get him she will say anything to please Him. It is just like you said so desperate.
Izzy Meakin 1:01:35
Most of the time she has to go off to her family or anything. It's because she recognises that isn't much to criticise. That was before.
That's so true. You're right it most of the digs are about her family. And I'm trying to think I guess when she says that she got Tanner and her appearance is altered. Yeah, she has to go after her appearance. Because Elizabeth is so ridiculous. And it's true because Elizabeth does know how to behave in society.
Izzy Meakin 1:02:06
Yeah, so true. Okay, do you want? Have you covered everything you wanted to cover on terms of Caroline on her own? I think so. Yeah. Okay, are excited that let's look at like so much different across comparison, then. So do you want to go back to the friendship point that we were seeing like, are the friendships authentic? Or are they false and for selfish motives? Yeah, I
think that's a great place to start. i Okay. My personal opinion is, I think Isabella is a narcissist. And I don't think any part of her friendship with Catherine is ever authentic. I think she likes the fact that she's four years older than Catherine, and can appear much more knowledgeable and in the know, and I think she likes to think that she's prettier than Catherine’s her little Minion, and Elizabeth. And Isabella gets to be the one who kind of soaks up all of the attention. And whereas I actually do think that Caroline Bingley, did see value and call call in Jane's qualities. And I think that Carolyn Bingley initially, was interested in getting to better know Jane, but then it was too threatening when Jane was with her brother. And she wanted to go along with what Mr. Darcy wanted. And so I don't know what you think about that. But long story short, is I think Caroline actually did like Jane at the beginning, whereas I think Isabella was always calculated in her friendship with Catherine.
Izzy Meakin 1:03:44
Yeah, I think I feel the same. I think Isabella's friendship with Catherine was old to do with James, her brother, because she hadn't actually got engaged to him yet. So I think she thought, I know he's really close with his family. What a perfect opportunity. His sister's right here. If I can get in with her, then one, it might encourage him to come to bath, but to, you know, he's gonna think more of me because I'm friends with his sister. And so I've already got that link there. And he'll think, Oh, she'll fit in with my family. So well. So I agree. I think it was all calculated. I don't think Isabella does anything that isn't. I do think she I think everything that she does in life is a calculated move, even that within men when she sees them, and she purposely makes the roots of that little bump into them again. And just everything that she does, she does it purposefully for a reason for whatever her current desire is, but I agree, I think that Caroline Bingley, on the other hand, needed a friend in the area because it was a new area and they she only had a sister and obviously a sister's married so it's in a different position. So I think she needs another single woman to be friends with to kind of occupy our time.
Yeah. Okay, so we're definitely on the same page with that. Another so when I when I think about The similarities and differences. Another thing that I want to talk about is who you think is more mean spirited. And yeah.
Izzy Meakin 1:05:10
Okay, let me hear your thoughts on it.
So, I actually would say that I think Caroline is more mean spirited, whereas I think Isabella is just more narcissistic. She's more focused on herself. She's never to Catherine’s face saying anything openly mean to her. She's more manipulative than mean spirited whereas I think Caroline is very mean spirited and how she jokes to Mr. Darcy about insulting Lizzie's family and talks about the Bennett's low connections. I thought it was really mean spirited that she saw Jane in London and it was cold to her and then said she'd visit her and then waits three weeks and is completely rude and and acts like Mr. Bingley's forgotten about Jane. I also think that letter that she writes to Jane is just incredibly, incredibly mean spirited. And I think I think Caroline says things that are more rude to people's faces, whereas Isabella is more passive aggressive.
Izzy Meakin 1:06:27
Okay, I'm gonna put a thing out there. Do you think the person that she's doing it to makes the biggest difference if that makes sense? So like if Catherine was dealing with Caroline Caroline was being openly like cruel to her and everything. Do you think that will be as dangerous as what Isabella does to Catherine.
I think I think what Isabel it does to Catherine is actually more dangerous because of the gaslighting the like presupposition. Oh, I, my dear Catherine, I care about you so much. And the fact that it's more underhanded versus Caroline, it depends on which situation we're talking about, but attacks Lizzie, and through the letter attacks Jane. Whereas I think Isabella is not really trying to attack Catherine. She's just trying to use Catherine for her own, for her own motives in her own means. It still hurts Catherine, but it's more of a narcissistic impulse versus a calculated I want to hurt this person impulse.
Izzy Meakin 1:07:37
Yeah, I agree. So it's not like she's actually threatening Catherine's happiness in Catherine's life and a lot of the things that she does, it's all just mind games. Whereas what Caroline does, is actually affecting Jane's life and her love life and who she can end up with and also could affect their standing in society because she's constantly trying to knock them down. And she's preventing potentially another match of Darcy and Elizabeth by trying to turn him against. So I yeah, I agree. Yeah, I think what Caroline does, because it's so open is more of a threat than what Isabella does. Because basically, when Catherine says no to Isabella, then that's kind of the end of the story. There's not much Isabella can I do about it?
Hmm. Yeah, I mean, I think when it comes down to it, Isabella is a bad friend, because she doesn't think and she doesn't think through enough what Catherine's needs are, or what Catherine, the kind of support that Catherine would need in the situation. Whereas Caroline, I think is very focused on let me see how I can make a dig to make this person feel bad. I think Isabel is just more out of it and self involved.
Izzy Meakin 1:08:45
Okay, so in terms of like, Who will be the West button and so something I'd say for Isabella is, she's obviously in a really different situation to Caroline essentially, because she has no fortune in so you can almost see her kind of more like a Jane Fairfax or a, a Charlotte Lucas. But I would say the biggest difference between those characters in Isabella is they're willing to, to look at things from a stance of like self preservation, and they'll be like, I want a comfortable living, or Jane Fairfax is willing to become a governess. Whereas Isabella is like, seriously, like money hungry. Like she, as soon as she gets a better offer than James she's willing to go for that. But you have to remember as well, she thinks James is a good match better than what he actually is, because they've got this misunderstanding that the Allens are going to be like supporting them or like giving them extra money or that their family is more wealthy. So I think she's absolutely so focused on like self promotion, and I think that makes her like a dangerous fortune hunter more like a Lucy Steele than somebody who's basically just trying to protect they're basically someone who's trying to you know, do was made sure that they're in a comfortable living, which a lot of women why like if you had no money you had to marry and you had to marry somebody who at least was going to give you a comfortable living. And I don't think that's a crime. But I think it becomes a crime when your soul drive has money. Yeah. Oh,
comparing her to Lucy still, that's a really, really excellent comparison. I think they both have that money hungry and manipulative streak. Absolutely. And I think this is a really good point about when we compare Caroline and Isabella thinking about their financial situation. One argument to have that we should give Isabella a little bit more leeway is because she was the eldest of all of these daughters. There's this very telling scene at the beginning, where the mum, you can tell the mom puts pressure on Isabella, it'd be the hope for the family, because Isabella is the most confident and attractive one. So she must have internalised the fact that, okay, we don't have a fortune, and I am my hope for my family. So there's a little bit more leeway in her with this desperation to find a good match than there is for Caroline, who is financially secure, and she still behaves so terribly. So I think Isabella is truly terrible and very dangerous and narcissistic. But that's the one area where I do have a little bit of compassion for her situation.
Izzy Meakin 1:11:31
This is actually making it hard for me now, because I'm actually thinking, is that enough to make her less of a villain because she actually has a reason to like support her family and stuff, and to actually make a good match. I'm just like, but then I also think you don't have to be an absolute crazy narcissist. Like Jane is in the exact same position. She's the eldest daughter. She is pressurised by her mum to make a good match. And yet jeans like a lovely person. Like you don't have to turn into a psychopath just because you, you know, have pressure from your families have a good match?
Oh, yeah, I mean, I think Isabella is is truly terrible, no matter what your financial financial situation is. There's no excuse for the way that she gaslights Catherine, and is flaky, and false. She is awful in that way. And actually, one way that I would say that Caroline is less of a villain is she's less fake than Isabella, even though she's kind of cruel and mean spirited. She pretends to be friends with Jane, but she never is over the top with it. Where's Isabella goes? My dearest darling, greatest friend of all time, all of that language as if they've been lifelong friends since they were five. Isabel it takes it to this false level, whereas Caroline viewed Jane as a friend, but it wasn't that over the top false scenario,
Izzy Meakin 1:13:03
if that makes sense. That chick good point is like Caroline owns the fact that she's a bit of a bee. But like, she owns the fact that she is that, whereas Isabella just lives in her own delusion, and she just is actually crazy. I'm not gonna lie to you. She's crazy. So I agree, I think there's something to be said about if you can actually own who you are as a person and go out there because people know what they're getting from you, then I don't think that makes you as dangerous, whereas Isabella pretends to be somebody entirely different in I do even think it's that she can no longer uphold the facade anymore. It's more that she doesn't care, Charlotte, like because Catherine is no longer the focus. So she's just like, well, I've not got time to focus on my facade with you because I need to focus on somebody else now. And then she goes back to and she has to pick up the pieces, but she just gets lost and all of her lies. It's it's all honestly, so if you okay, I've got a question for you in real life. Who would? Who if you had to deal with one of them, who would you prefer to deal with?
Oh, I would definitely prefer to deal with Caroline Bingley. I think I would feel less threatened because on some level, I would know what I was getting from her like she's never nice to Elizabeth. You know, Lizzie never thinks that Oh, Caroline likes me. And I don't have very much sympathy for Isabella. But I do. I feel sorry for Karolina at times, because I think she's just so desperate for Mr. Darcy's affection that, that that's why, I don't know I can have a little bit more compassion for her situation and I have less compassion for Isabella's behaviour. What about you?
Izzy Meakin 1:14:51
Yeah, God. It's really hard though, isn't it when you think about it, I think. Yeah, definitely. I feel like powerline to be easier to deal with. I also think the thing with Karolina says she's not as much of a leech. And so you know, there will be a point where you could kind of just, like, get away from her, like you could leave and not be around her. Whereas Isabella, you can't shake her off if you're her target. That's it. She's just like on you all the time. You can't escape her and she's constantly filling your head full of just rubbish. And so I just think it should you forever be a target. That would be an absolutely hellish life. So I think definitely Caroline because at least she could escape Caroline and, you know, you could escape not to harmed if you, you know, as long as you weren't after our brother, obviously.
Right? Yeah, I feel like, even if it's, even if it's not a pleasant truth, I always feel more secure being around someone if I'm getting some element of honesty. And so even if Caroline didn't like me, I'd go, Okay, I know what I'm getting. Whereas with Isabella, I would just feel so uncertain about everything all the time, because she's so false. And I also think one other thing I wanted to say about Caroline is, she does have these moments where she has these acts of caring, and I don't know if it's it pressure to be proprietress or if it comes from a genuine place. But even though she's condescending, she does invite Lizzie to stay so that Lizzie can be with her sister while Jane's sick. And then when she finds out Jane's worse, Mr. Bingley is going to send for the country Dr. And Miss Bingley insists on sending for one of the out of town physicians or one of the town physicians so that she gets the best care. And on the one hand, I'm like, Okay, this might be you being snobby. And doing a power trip. I know what's best. But on the other hand, I'm like, you don't have to go above and beyond for someone you don't care about. So maybe on some level, she did care for Jane and wanted to do the right thing by her health.
Izzy Meakin 1:17:00
Yeah, she could electrically just send her back or she could have been like you and your sister can't come and stay. Yeah, I think that's a great point, actually. Yeah, I think that's a really good point. I don't think Isabella would would do that.
Yeah. Isabella would be to
Izzy Meakin 1:17:16
Isabella can't even write you a letter. It will write you a letter if you're away for like, a few weeks. So no, she's not gonna get you a fancy Doctor issue.
Yeah, like Isabella is not gonna reach out or engage with you unless she feels like she can get something out of it. And Caroline didn't have anything financially or practically to get out of the relationship with Jane, but she still sought out that friendship. So true. Yeah.
Izzy Meakin 1:17:45
I feel like it's a valid like blame you for like ruining her time because you were sick. Oh, totally. She'd be like, I can't believe you've done this to me because I wanted to go to the ball. Well, she do it in a way that's actually gaslighting and not being like overt about it. She was like, Oh, I'm so disappointed that I can't go to the ball. But I guess I can stay all night with you, my dearest friend. Even though it was me it pink. It hurts me that I can't go to the ball. But I love you enough that I'll stay with you to the extent that you just like please go to the ball because you're miserable.
Oh my gosh. Wow. That was That was amazing. First of all, that's exactly how she would be actually she'd pretend like she'd stay with you. And then she'd still go to the ball. Yeah,
Izzy Meakin 1:18:26
yeah. She'd be like, Oh, I can see somebody shouting me from the window. Oh, gosh, I I must go to them be so rude if I don't and then you just be there like sick on your own. And just like, you die on Isabella's watch, at least Carl and gets you the best doctor. Exactly.
Caroline, even if she doesn't want to do the right thing. She might do the right thing. Whereas I think we know that Isabella would always do the wrong thing. If what the right if the right thing wasn't serving her.
Izzy Meakin 1:18:52
I totally agree. I'm sorry. I think this is like a really good time to talk about Catherine’s judgement because I don't think it's far off. What we've been saying about Isabella So Catherine states, well, the narrative and Catherine states, such a strain of Shelley artifice could not impose even upon Catherine its inconsistencies, contradictions and falsehoods struck her from the very fast she was ashamed of Isabella and ashamed of having ever loved her. And then she goes on to stay, obviously, in shock that Isabella would say to write to James on her behalf in the narrative states No, James should never hear Isabella's name mentioned by her again. She must think me an idiot or she could not have written me, so I do not believe she ever had any regard either for James or for me, and I wish I had never known her. I do not think Isabella has any heart to lose. I think Catherine's judgement isn't far off our own. So are we coming to the conclusion that Isabella is the worst villain?
Yes, I think Isabella is way worse than Caroline.
Izzy Meakin 1:19:53
Okay, Isabella, the villain off winner of 2022 I think you'll only
Time that Caroline ever comes close to the level of cruelty is in the letter to Jane. And I think
Izzy Meakin 1:20:07
we should know that's probably the closest she ever comes to get into getting Darcy as well. So that's the closest she ever gets to the price. So maybe that's why it's kind of the worst of her cruelty.
Yeah, well, congratulations, Isabella, you are the worst, and you win the villain off.
Izzy Meakin 1:20:23
So if people want to find you, where should they go? On the podcast.
I'm in Chicago, Illinois. My Instagram handle is half underscore agony underscore, half underscore hope. And yeah, I just post a lot of quotes from literature and psychology that I love and most of the literature quotes or Jane Austen quotes.
Izzy Meakin 1:20:53
Absolutely. Come find me. And you'll find Kaylee on the podcast lots. So she's on loads of episodes. So you know, make sure you check those other ones out because we always have so much fun. And also definitely check out last year's villain off we did will it be and we can, like I said at the start and that was such a fun episode as well. Obviously, Alex is on with us then as well, which is cool, because I got to play kind of a I wasn't on either side. It was like you guys convincing me so it was kind of a different style, isn't it?
Yeah, you were more of the mediator. That was a really, really fun setup to and yeah, I hope Ellis will be able to come back and do another one with us. That'd be super fun. Also, we'd loved it. You should DM us and give us thoughts on who we should do for the next villain off. We'd love to hear your input.
Izzy Meakin 1:21:38
Oh my gosh, such a point. Yeah, absolutely. Get those thoughts in and also I will say if you have any thoughts on any of the episodes that have happened this year, me and Kaylee are going to be doing like a reflections episode to wrap up this year. So that's going to be really fun and I'm definitely gonna share it on my Instagram as well. So at what the Austen and I'll be putting some requests in to see what people thought of the episode what your favourite episodes because yeah, we're gonna be looking back looking back on the year. What was the year been like on the podcast?
Oh my gosh, I cannot wait for that. There's so much to discuss and so much has happened