Study Guide

Lady Middleton in Sense and Sensibility

By Jane Austen

Lady Middleton

Lady Middleton is everything her mother, sisters, and husband are not: she's stately, calm, fashionable, and elegant. However, before you get too pleasant a picture of her, you should also know that she's a cold-hearted, selfish social climber – and to top it all off, she's rather boring. Lady Middleton isn't evil or anything; in fact, she's too dull to come up with any evil plans. Instead, she's just a run of the mill, essentially laughable character, one of many that Austen comes up with to skewer a common social type. Appropriately, Lady Middleton doesn't befriend the Dashwood sisters, and instead, she only likes the other women in the novel who resemble herself (or are willing to flatter her) – Lucy and Fanny. Her whole character can be summed up in her conclusion after the news of Willoughby's engagement: though she pretends to feel bad for Marianne, she secretly decides to try and befriend the new Mrs. Willoughby, who will, no doubt, be a woman of social consequence.